The world had been watching four Republican senators this week to see if any of them would come out in favor of hearing from witnesses during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Two of those Republicans, Sens. Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, had said they would vote yes for more witnesses. But Sen. Lamar Alexander announced his decision on Thursday to vote no on the matter.
Later in the day, Sen. Lisa Murkowski also said she’s going to vote against witnesses. Her announcement ensures that the vote will fail, likely by a 49-51 vote.
In making her decision, Murkowski decried partisanship in the Senate, blaming Democrats for a trial she deemed was unfair, Axios reported.
“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 the process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit, as an institution, Congress has failed,” she said.
But two Republicans joined Democrats to support impeachment witnesses — meaning, even though the measure will likely fail, it was a bipartisan bloc of senators who supported it, while only one party stood against the idea of witnesses.
The hypocrisy and rationale given by Murkowski was blasted on social media by pundits, both liberal and conservative.
“An absurdly hypocritical statement from @lisamurkowski in which she laments the ‘partisan nature of this impeachment’ and that ‘there will be no fair trial in the Senate’ while declaring that she’ll vote against witnesses,” Evan McMullin, Republican who ran as independent in the 2016 presidential election, said. “Senator, you’re now a party to this cover-up. It’s yours.”
An absurdly hypocritical statement from @lisamurkowski in which she laments the "partisan nature of this impeachment" and that "there will be no fair trial in the Senate" while declaring that she'll vote against witnesses. Senator, you're now a party to this cover-up. It's yours. https://t.co/HJhFX0avLQ
— Evan McMullin (@EvanMcMullin) January 31, 2020
Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, echoed McMullin’s disdain.
“In lamenting partisanship, Murkowski doubles down in participating it. Very odd argument,” He wrote.
In lamenting partisanship, Murkowski doubles down in participating it. Very odd argument. https://t.co/6qPWlIVh8f
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) January 31, 2020
Chris Lu, a former Secretary of Labor under President Obama, lashed out at Murkowski’s supposed criticism of a “flawed” trial, pointing out that former President Clinton handed over 90,000 pages of documents, with 100 witnesses involved, in his impeachment trial..
What’s “flawed” is Trump’s obstruction, Lu wrote.
When @lisamurkowski says House process was "flawed," here's some context:
1999: Clinton WH produced 90,000 pages of documents. Nearly 100 witnesses were interviewed
Now: Trump WH/agencies produced no documents. 12 witnesses were blocked
What's "flawed" is Trump's obstruction
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) January 31, 2020
And Greg Sargent, a columnist at the Washington Post, called Murkowski’s decision “deeply pathetic.”
“And I suspect she knows it,” he added. “It becomes hard to have a democracy if one party — the GOP — no longer feels even the slightest obligation to make real arguments, and has decided there is no penalty for such bottomless bad faith.”
This, from @lisamurkowski, is just deeply pathetic, and I suspect she knows it.
It becomes hard to have a democracy if one party — the GOP — no longer feels even the slightest obligation to make real arguments, and has decided there is no penalty for such bottomless bad faith. https://t.co/tcdFWFu31J
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) January 31, 2020
The American people also overwhelmingly favored hearing from important witnesses in the Senate trial. Three-quarters of Americans said as much in a recent Quinnipiac poll, while only 20 percent were opposed to more testimony.
That poll also found that a plurality, 49 percent, of Republicans wanted to hear from witnesses as well.