The U.S. Senate officially voted late on Friday to put an end to Senate Democrats’ attempts to prolong President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by calling on new witnesses to testify and new documents to be brought into the trial.
The move to prolong the trial was shot down in a 51 to 49 vote, which saw establishment Republican Senators Mitt Romney (UT) and Susan Collins (ME) defect from the party and join the Democrats.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 31, 2020
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) effectively killed Democrats’ hope for a prolonged trial when she released a statement on Friday stating that she was not in favor of calling new witnesses.
“I worked for a fair, honest, and transparent process, modeled after the Clinton trial, to provide ample time for both sides to present their cases, ask thoughtful questions, and determine whether we need more,” Murkowski said in a statement. “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 shortcoming, 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. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” Murkowski continued.
Washington Post senior political reporter Aaron Blake noted that part of Murkowski’s statement was aimed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), writing: “Murkowski also has choice words clearly aimed at @ewarren: ‘It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort.’”
Murkowski also has choice words clearly aimed at @ewarren:
"It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort."
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) January 31, 2020
Democrats had suffered another defeat late on Thursday night when Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that he was also not in favor of calling for additional witnesses and documents.
“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the U.S. Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense,” Alexander said, later adding, “But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate. The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did.”
Alexander later concluded: “Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with ‘the consent of the governed,’ not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide.”
Some political commentators noted that Collins was in a tough spot because of her re-election and that she may have voted the way that she did because she knew that the Republicans ultimately were going to shut down Democrats’ attempts to prolong the trial.
However, the reaction online to Romney was much more intense as the overwhelming majority of conservatives attacked the Senator.
CPAC head Matt Schlapp went as far as declaring that Romney was not invited to CPAC.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) January 31, 2020