Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she is not comfortable with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he will work closely with the White House on President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense.
In an interview published Tuesday night by KTUU in Anchorage, Alaska, Murkowski said, “In fairness, when I heard that, I was disturbed.”
The House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump last week, meaning that once the House sends the articles to the Senate, the 100 senators must serve as a jury for an impeachment trial to be presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts.
“To me, it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense,“ Murkowski said, adding: “I heard what Leader McConnell had said; I happened to think that that has further confused the process.”
McConnell has vowed to work with the Trump White House on the president’s defense.
“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with the White House counsel,” he told Sean Hannity on Fox News on Dec. 12. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”
McConnell also told Hannity: “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.“
Murkowski, who has at times charted an independent path in the Senate, was critical of the way House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had handled the impeachment process but also said she took seriously her role as an impeachment juror.
“For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there or, on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday, that’s wrong, in my view, that’s wrong,” she said.
Her remarks were similar to those made Sunday by Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, who complained that members of both parties — including some Democratic presidential candidates — were ignoring their constitutional obligations to be impartial.
“When it comes to saying, ‘I made up my mind,’ it’s all over, for goodness’ sakes, that is not what the Constitution envisioned,“ Durbin told CNN’s Dana Bash. “Alexander Hamilton said, we give this job to the Senate because they are — quote — ‘independent and dignified.‘ For goodness’ sakes, let’s do our best to meet those standards.”