Lisa Murkowski To Stick With Republicans In Impeachment Hearing, But She Had These Strong Words For Donald Trump

( – It’s been a busy week in politics in the United States. President Donald Trump gave his annual State of the Union address, the Democrats are still scrambling to report Iowa caucus results, and the Senate is due to vote on Trump’s acquittal in his impeachment trial today.

For months now, it has seemed obvious that the Senate would not remove Trump from office, even before the House voted to impeach him. However, the fight raged on, with Democrats pushing hard for witnesses in the trial and trying to convince some undecided Republicans to join their side on the issue.

As of Monday, though, one of those senators who was reportedly on the fence announced she would stay on her side. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she would be voting to acquit Trump on Wednesday, along with almost all of her fellow Republicans.

“I cannot vote to convict,” Murkowski said in the Senate chamber Monday night. “The Constitution provides for impeachment but does not demand it in all instances.”

At first glance, this would seem like a glowing approval for Trump and a signal that the Democrats were wrong in their impeachment. However, Murkowski didn’t stop there, choosing instead to chide Trump moments after she announced she would not convict him.

“The president’s behavior was shameful and wrong,” she said. “His personal interests do not take precedent over those of this great nation.”

Her diatribe didn’t stop with Trump, though. She also criticized the entire impeachment process itself as being a political stunt.

“The House failed in its responsibilities and the Senate — the Senate should be ashamed by the rank partisanship that has been on display here,” Murkowski said. “So many in this chamber share my sadness for the present state of our institutions. It’s my hope that we’ve finally found bottom here.”

This was quite the wide-ranging speech by Murkowski — at one point a victory for Trump and the Republicans, then at the next a criticism of the presidents, then finally a criticism of the entire Capitol. She has always been sort of an “outsider,” if you will, from the rest of the Republican Party, at least to say she was considered a potential swing vote who may side with the Democrats to convict Trump. If taken in that context, then, her words are not all that surprising.

What will be interesting to see is how Murkowski’s actions, and her words, will affect her throughout the rest of her term, which is set to run through 2023. She is the second most senior woman in the Republican Party in the Senate, and is often described as one of the most moderate Republicans, making her a swing voter in a lot of cases.