U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski approves of the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, who faces allegations of inciting a rampage in the halls of Congress that is blamed in the deaths of five people.
“Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence and the House has responded swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment,” Murkowski, a Republican, said in a written statement provided by her press office Thursday.
The senator wants to hear arguments during a Senate trial before deciding how she will vote and supports Senate leadership who wish to wait until after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week.
Trump is being impeached a second time in what Murkowski described as a bipartisan effort.
Members of Congress were certifying the Electoral College vote in the presidential election on Jan. 6 when they fled to safety as rioters overwhelmed the Capitol building following a speech by Trump, who claims the presidential election was rigged. The claims have been adjudicated and found to be baseless.
The day after the riot, Murkowski called on Trump to resign and questioned her membership in the Trump-led Republican Party, according to a story published in the Anchorage Daily News.
Last February, the senator voted against impeaching Trump on charges of abusing power and obstructing Congress. The second impeachment is different, according to Murkowski.
“This second impeachment stands in stark contrast to what we faced last January — an impeachment that was partisan from the beginning and left no opportunity for a fair trial in the Senate,” reads Murkowski’s statement.
She said Wednesday’s vote in the U.S. House to impeach Trump a second time reflects the largest number of votes favoring a presidential impeachment.
“For months, the President has perpetrated false rhetoric that the election was stolen and rigged, even after dozens of courts ruled against these claims. When he was not able to persuade the courts or elected officials, he launched a pressure campaign against his own Vice President, urging him to take actions that he had no authority to do.
“On the day of the riots, President Trump’s words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans – including a Capitol Police officer – the desecration of the Capitol, and briefly interfered with the government’s ability to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.
“Our nation’s founders gave the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments, and exercising that power is a weighty and important responsibility. When the Article of Impeachment comes to the Senate, I will follow the oath I made when sworn as a U.S. Senator. I will listen carefully and consider the arguments of both sides, and will then announce how I will vote.
“The timing of an impeachment trial in the Senate is currently unknown, but Leader McConnell has made clear that it will not take place prior to inauguration. I fully support that decision as our priority this week must be to ensure safety in Washington, DC and across the country as we allow for an orderly and peaceful transfer of power.”
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, also commented on Trump’s impeachment, saying the president faces serious charges and that he would take them seriously.
“Before the 2020 impeachment trial, I said that impeachment and conviction are the most severe constitutional ‘checks’ or remedies given to Congress in dealing with the conduct of a President,” reads Sullivan’s statement.
Sullivan said he would examine historical and legal precedents and long-term impacts on the country before voting to convict.
“I will be a juror, and I will thoroughly examine the arguments and evidence presented, including any defense mounted by the President’s legal team. I will not rush to judgment or make rash statements until this constitutional process has run its course. I will uphold my duties to Alaskans, our fellow Americans, and to the Constitution.
“For now, I will continue to focus on helping to facilitate the orderly transition of power and a safe inauguration — our country needs both.”
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.