Lisa Murkowski 'Disturbed,' Close To Perturbed, With McConnell's Talk Of A Sham Impeachment Trial
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is reportedly "disturbed" that Mitch McConnell plans to have a sham impeachment trial for Donald Trump. The Senate majority leader has already declared the House's case "so darn weak" that there's "zero chance" Trump is removed from office. McConnell also plans to actively canoodle with Trump's defense team. During an interview on what appeared to be Alaska's version of "Between Two Ferns," Murkowski said that although this isn't a criminal proceeding, the Senate should at least appear impartial.
MURKOWSKI: 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.
The senator also expressed her concerns with -- you guessed it -- both sides of this process. She thought Democrats rushed impeachment into the stores for Christmas like some lazy-ass holiday record. (Acting) White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton were both key witnesses who refused to testify under White House direction. Murkowski claimed Pelosi was so obsessed with her yuletide timetable that she didn't bother taking the issue to the courts. House Democrats literally charged Trump with outright obstruction of Congress, so we don't get her point here. While it'd be nice to have serial confessor Mulvaney testify, Trump's active obstruction and defiance of Congress is evidence.
Murkowski is considered a key swing vote. She famously defied her party's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She also voted against confirming Brett Kavanaugh. A couple good votes is all a Republican needs for the media to call her a "moderate." She's otherwise voted with Trump 74 percent of the time. That's more than Susan Collins, whom we regularly drag around here because she's terrible. Nonetheless, reporters like to romanticize her "independent" streak. Yesterday, her fairly muted comments were embraced as a miracle on Impeachment Street.
You'd need almost 20 Murkowskis willing to hear "facts" and "evidence" to have a shot at removing Trump and elevating Vice President Handmaid's Tale. But liberal pundits think Murkowski, Mitt Romney -- maybe even Collins if you're going full Charlie Brown -- could force McConnell to play fair.
The political focus should also be on conservative Democrats such as Joe Manchin, who hurt us with his Kavanaugh vote. There's also Doug Jones, a true "independent." He votes with Trump just 34 percent of the time and he's from Alabama. He risks his own house "accidentally" catching fire with every anti-Trump vote. It's not a total shock that Jones is not fully on the impeachment express. He said this weekend that there were "gaps" in the House's impeachment case.
JONES: I'm trying to see if the dots get connected. If that is the case, then I think it's a serious matter. I think it's an impeachable matter. But if these dots aren't connected and there are other explanations that I think are consistent with innocence, I will go that way too... What I really want to see, though, is to fill in the gaps. There are gaps.
It's possible that McConnell could hold a fair and balanced Senate trial. It's also possible that Cats isn't crap. It's more likely McConnell might relent and allow for witnesses, but he'll just shrug if they all go to Cabo instead. Many of the "moderate" Republicans requesting a respectable process were just fine with the quickie FBI sham investigation before Kavanaugh's confirmation. They just want to put lipstick on the presidential pig before they help him beat the rap.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.