Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski expressed concern Tuesday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise of “total coordination” with the White House on the Senate’s impeachment trial strategy.
“In fairness, when I heard that I was disturbed,” the Alaska Republican told Anchorage’s NBC affiliate KTUU in her first public hint that she could break with her party on impeachment.
“To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process,” Murkowski said.
Earlier this month, McConnell promised that Republicans will remain in lockstep with the White House on messaging strategy as impeachment against President Trump proceeds in the upper chamber.
“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this,” McConnell said.
The House approved two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, against Trump last week. However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far refused to submit the articles to the Senate until Democrats receive assurances of a “fair” trial.
Despite her reservations about Republicans’s Senate strategy, Murkowski said she considers the House process to have been rushed by Democrats.
“Speaker Pelosi was very clear, very direct that her goal was to get this done before Christmas,” Murkowski noted.
“How we will deal with witnesses remains to be seen,” Murkowski said of the Senate process, adding that she believes the House should have used the power of the courts to bring reluctant witnesses to the table.
The maverick senator, known for breaking with her party on significant issues such as Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and repealing the Affordable Care Act, said she has not yet decided how she will vote on impeachment.
“For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there or on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday, that’s wrong, in my view, that’s wrong,” Murkowski said.