Updated Dec 26, 2019

Murkowski "disturbed" by McConnell's coordination with White House on impeachment

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Mark Wilson/Staff/Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told ABC affiliate KTUU on Tuesday that she was "disturbed" upon hearing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's assurance of "total coordination" between himself and White House lawyers in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Why it matters: A simple majority vote is needed for the Senate to call new witnesses, which McConnell opposes. Democrats view Murkowski as one possible Republican defection, along with other moderates like Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah.)

The backdrop: In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, McConnell said, "We'll be working through this process ... in total coordination with the White House counsel's office and the people who are representing the president as well as the Senate."

  • “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can," he added.

What she's saying: "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 has further confused the process."

  • Murkowski criticized the House impeachment process, saying, "Speaker Pelosi was very clear, very direct that her goal was to get this done before Christmas," leaving the Senate to rectify weaknesses in the evidence that will be presented at the trial.
  • "How we will deal with witnesses remains to be seen," she added.
  • The Alaska Republican is undecided on how she would vote on impeachment, but wants a "full and fair process."
  • "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," Murkowski said.

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Pelosi signals she'll send impeachment articles to Senate next week

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues Friday that she will ask House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to "be prepared“ to name impeachment managers and send the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate next week.

Why it matters: Her decision would potentially end a weeks-long standoff between Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the structure of the Senate trial — specifically whether new documents or witnesses would be allowed.

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Pelosi confirms House will vote to send impeachment articles on Wednesday

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed in a statement Tuesday that the House will vote Wednesday on a resolution that would name impeachment managers and transmit the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate.

Why it matters: The vote would end Pelosi's pressure campaign against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow additional documents and witnesses in the Senate's impeachment trial. McConnell said at a press conference that the trial will likely begin next Tuesday, with "housekeeping" measures like the swearing-in of senators taking place this week.

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Collins says it's "inappropriate" for McConnell, Warren to "prejudge" impeachment trial

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told Maine Public Radio Tuesday that it was "inappropriate" for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to "prejudge the evidence" in President Trump's forthcoming Senate impeachment trial.

What she's saying: "[E]ach of us will take an oath — an oath that I take very seriously to render impartial justice. ... There are senators on both sides of the aisle, who, to me, are not giving the appearance of and the reality of judging that's in an impartial way."

Go deeperArrowDec 31, 2019