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Murkowski to Vote ‘No’ on Calling Witnesses, Likely Ensuring Swift End to Impeachment Trial

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) talks to reporters after the U.S. Senate confirmed the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, U.S., October 6, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) announced on Friday she would vote against admitting witnesses to the impeachment trial of President Trump.

“I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of the [House’s impeachment] process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate.”

Murkowski also criticized Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) in her statement. On Thursday, Warren submitted a question to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, which he then read aloud, questioning whether Roberts might be accused of political bias in the event of a tie-breaking vote on witnesses.

“It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process…while attacking the Chief Justice,” Murkowski wrote. “We have already degraded [Congress] for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.”

Murkowski is the second Republican who was considered a swing vote to come out against the admission of witnesses in the impeachment trial. The other, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, announced on Thursday his opposition to summoning witnesses.

The only two Republicans to publicly support summoning witnesses are Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine. Democrats need four Republican votes to pass a motion in favor of witnesses.

If the Senate votes against including additional witnesses and evidence, the final vote on the impeachment articles could still be pushed back to next week. Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin (D., Il.) told CNN that the vote could take place by “Wednesday of next week. That’s what [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell is proposing.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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