To the editor: As an Alaska Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton, I would like to thank Sen. Murkowski for her critical vote that prevented the Senate impeachment trial from turning into a communist-era show trial. Lost in the media frenzy over calling witnesses in the Senate trial is the fact that secret partisan witness proceedings in the House impeachment process at no time allowed the president’s counsel to cross-examine or call any witness, effectively trying the president in absentia. After a vote finally taken by the full House for an impeachment inquiry, the impeachment proceedings were then transferred to the Judiciary Committee. In the House Judiciary hearings, no public witness testimony was allowed.
After this patently sham process, the speaker of the House refused to send the impeachment articles to the Senate, ominously stating that the Senate could not have a fair trial. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer began endless rants in the Senate stating that the trial would not be fair without witnesses (but only “relevant witnesses”).
This shoddy behavior was, of course, bought hook, line and sinker by the mainstream press, with PBS’s Mark Shields applauding Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s behavior as masterful. In contrast, many of us would characterize Pelosi and Schumer’s behavior as unscrupulous ruthless manipulation that would make Joseph Stalin proud. Moreover, this extreme partisan behavior resulted in physical threats against Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine whose fairness is accepted by senators as practically legendary.
This partisan behavior continued in the Senate as some Democratic Senate speeches justifying conviction accused Republican senators of caving into pressure from President Trump. However, responsible Democratic senators like Joe Manchin from West Virginia, who stated in his speech that he was undecided, have of course not engaged in such scurrilous behavior.
I would like to assure all Alaskans that these abominable machinations by Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer do not represent Alaska Democrats, who have consistently provided responsible leadership at the state level and will continue to do so in the future.