Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced on Friday that she will vote against hearing from new witnesses in the Senate, all but assuring that the effort by Democrats to find new evidence will fail.
Democrats, who hold 47 seats in the Senate, had to gain support from four Republican Senators to bring in new witnesses as long as every Democrat votes together in lockstep. There is some question whether Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is seen as a moderate, will vote with the rest of his party to hear from new witnesses.
The four that were seen as most likely to provide the necessary Republican votes included Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Lisa Murkowski.
After Sen. Alexander announced that he would vote against hearing from new witnesses on Thursday evening, Senate Democrats had hoped Sen. Murkowski would join them to bring the vote on witnesses to a possible 50-50 tie. But now that both Sens. Alexander and Murkowski will vote against hearing from new witnesses, the effort is likely doomed to fail 49-51 with Sens. Romney and Collins voting with the Democrats.
In explaining her decision, Sen. Murkowski said, “The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena. Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.”
This means that the vote to acquit President Trump of the impeachment charges against him could come to an end as soon as today.
According to the New York Times, “With Ms. Murkowski’s decision, the Senate may be able to proceed to a final vote on each article of impeachment as soon as late Friday. The final votes could also slip into Saturday if senators demand a deliberation period, akin to what they did before rendering a verdict in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. Either way, Mr. Trump is headed to an all but certain acquittal in a trial where it would take a two-thirds majority — 67 senators — to convict.”
President Trump is only the 3rd President to be impeached by the House of Representatives and will now be the 3rd to be acquitted by the Senate. No President has ever been removed from office by an impeachment conviction in the Senate, and now it’s all but assured that President Trump won’t be either.
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary