Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who has been critical of the impeachment process, was quoted by an Anchorage television station Tuesday saying she was “disturbed” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) comment that there would be “total coordination” between the White House and the Senate in the upcoming impeachment trial. In the KTUU interview, Senator Murkowski described her desire for a “full and fair process” and that there should be distance between the White House and Senate: “To me it means that we have to take a step back from being hand-in-glove with the defense, and so (when) I heard what Leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that has further confused the process.” In the same interview, Senator Murkowski noted House Speaker Pelosi “rushed” the impeachment process.
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Arguably one who is striving for objectivity more than others involved with the impeachment process, Senator Murkowski has often been branded as a moderate due to her voting record. According to FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional votes, Senator Murkowski voted with President Trump’s position 74% of the time, as of November 2019. However, during the Obama era, Senator Murkowski voted with Obama’s position 72.3% of the time in 2013, being one of only two Republicans to do so. In October 2019, Senator Murkowski was one of three Republican senators who refused to sign a resolution, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), opposing the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
When asked about Senator Murkowski’s unconventional Republican ideologies, David Jory, a Capitol Hill government relations specialist who attended university with Senator Murkowski, explained that Alaska is an “independent kind of place”. Despite holding a Republican majority, Jory reasoned that the state doesn’t hold “your typical Republicans”. Because of that, Senator Murkowski “treads a fine line” with her voters. He also noted that “she isn’t fake…she’s really like that”.
Senator Murkowski, one of a few GOP swing voters in the Senate, could contribute to tipping the scales in the heavily partisan Senate impeachment trial.