The progressives were pulling out all the stops on Thursday to have their like-minded Alaskans call the offices of Sen. Lisa Murkowski to demand that she vote in favor of bringing witnesses in the impeachment trial of the president.
That “witness” vote will likely happen on Friday, which is why the pressure built all of a sudden on Murkowski, as well as other Senate Republicans considered moderates, such as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
The pressure was deflated when Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announced on Thursday night that he is a “no” vote on the motion to bring in additional witnesses and further documents for the trial of the president. Without him, the Senate does not have the four votes to bring witnesses, which puts the chamber on track to possibly acquit President Trump by Friday or Saturday. Suddenly, the pressure was off Murkowski.
“There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers,’ wrote Sen. Alexander, former governor, former U.S. Secretary of Education, and now senator.
The calls to Murkowski’s office will likely dry up over night. And in any case, most of the calls she has received to date have been from activists outside the state, not her own constituents, Must Read Alaska has learned.
But as much pressure as they were applying, the total intensity is far less than felt by Senate offices during the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court or even Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
Insiders say this round of activist pressure has been relatively tame. During the Kavanaugh hearings, women were swarming the offices and activists were chanting, wailing, and getting arrested for their occupation.
The ads aimed at Murkowski this week caught the eye of political analysts on Thursday.
The one above is sponsored by Tom Steyer, a candidate for president, although you’d have to know where to dig to find that information.
Steyer’s “NeedtoImpeach” ad on Facebook is a continuation of a campaign the billionaire started in October of 2017, a cause for which he has spent more than $2 million to promote; it is separate from his campaign for president.
Murkowski had indicated she was interested to hear what witnesses might have to say, and because she signaled her curiosity, the pressure campaign started up again.
The DefendAmericanDemocracy.org ad campaign above is funded by a consortium of left-wing groups that it has spent $132,000 on Facebook ads on impeachment since January of 2019, when it started hammering on the Russia collusion theory. That theory is now ancient history and debunked by nearly everyone, but the group has moved to new charges and new theories.
Sen. Susan Collins issued a statement saying she will be a vote in support of more witnesses and documents. She is in a tough reelection campaign with Democrats on the attack in her state.
“I believe hearing from certain witnesses would give each side the opportunity to more fully and fairly make their case, resolve any ambiguities, and provide additional clarity. Therefore, I will vote in support of the motion to allow witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed,” Collins wrote.
Two Republican senators remain to announce — Murkowski and Mitt Romney of Utah, and neither have said what they will do on Friday. Romney has been viewed as a yes vote, but Murkowski said Thursday night that she would need to review her notes and reflect on what she has heard.