House Democratic impeachment managers need a handful of GOP senators to vote to allow witnesses in order to prolong their sham trial of President Donald Trump, and they cannot afford to lose any prospective defectors.
One of the senators on the fence, and one of the easiest ones to sway, would be Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Murkowski has a history of being a thorn in the president’s side and was the only GOP senator to vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Which is why it should be very worrisome for Democrats that one of their managers, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, offended the wishy-washy senator.
Nadler accused Republican senators who vote against having witnesses in the impeachment trial, after they hear opening arguments, of being engaged in a “cover-up.”
“I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses, an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote,” the 72-year-old said.
That comment infuriated the Alaska senator.
“I took it as very offensive,” Murkowski said to reporters Wednesday. “As one who is listening attentively and working hard to get to a fair process, I was offended.”
There are not many Republicans who appear to be open to the idea of having witnesses in the trial as they believe, rightly, that the House is asking the Senate to do the job it was supposed to do during its impeachment inquiry.
That’s why losing any one of them could be a death blow to the Democrats’ hopes of prolonging President Donald Trump’s inevitable acquittal.
Among the ones to watch are Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and the usual suspects, Sens. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Murkowski.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley also said he believed that Democrats shot themselves in the foot on Wednesday with their approach.
“I mean, that’s an extraordinary thing to say on the floor of the United States Senate, the middle of the trial, and that’s what drew the rebuke and rightly so,” he said, according to Fox News.
“I can tell you, there was an open, open gasping on the Senate floor when Nadler was saying these things. I mean, it’s really, really extraordinary,” the senator said.
“If the goal was to persuade, they took a huge step backward last night.”
Democrats appear to believe that they are going to be able to shame Republicans into siding with them, but that approach is falling flat, Fox News reported.
“The House is completely miscalculating how to handle this,” a Republican Senate source told the news outlet on Thursday.
“They’re putting far too much emphasis on the time they use than the substance of what they’re delivering,” the source said.
As anyone who has watched the hearings can attest, Democrats have been brutally boring, rehashing what they laid out in the House impeachment inquiry.
They did not appear to make much headway on Thursday, and they only have one day left to make their case before the president’s attorneys get their chance.
And if they lose Murkowski, it is all but over.
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