Lisa Murkowski proves herself; impeachment fiasco proves something else - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, February 20, 2020
HomeColumnsLisa Murkowski proves herself; impeachment fiasco proves something else

Lisa Murkowski proves herself; impeachment fiasco proves something else

By WIN GRUENING

After months of hearings, mountains of evidence and mostly second-hand witness testimony, the impeachment inquiry and trial of the President this past week ground slowly to its inevitable conclusion of acquittal.  

It did so without convincing a majority of the U. S. Senate or the country that whatever actions transpired over Ukraine defense funding, they didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

Win Gruening

On the other hand, the American people now have proof that Congressional Democrats will stop at nothing to overturn the 2016 election of Donald Trump.  Constitutional scholars described the Democrats’ “weaponization” of the impeachment process as a dangerous precedent where future policy differences could be interpreted as “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The two articles of impeachment, “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress”, were masterpieces of vagueness.  Neither defined a crime by any legal standard.

Even last-minute leaks of unsubstantiated claims by ex-National Security Advisor John Bolton fell mostly on deaf ears as many had reached the conclusion that the charges leveled against Trump, even if true, weren’t serious enough to remove a sitting president from office nine months before standing for election.

The lack of due process afforded the President and the purely partisan nature of the impeachment vote were reason enough to end the process quickly.  Indeed, the only real drama unfolded 11 days after the trial began when a vote was scheduled to allow the calling of witnesses.  Strictly a procedural vote requiring a Senate majority to pass, most Republicans saw it as a delaying tactic not affecting the ultimate trial outcome.  

If passed, it certainly would have extended the trial weeks or months as wrangling over witnesses and testimony ensued – providing opportunities for Democrats to level additional unsubstantiated accusations against the President.

Unsurprisingly, this thrust Sen. Lisa Murkowski into the national spotlight.  Seen as a possible swing vote on impeachment, her vote on this issue was uncertain as she had previously indicated interest in hearing from additional witnesses.  She became the focus of intense pressure from both sides of the aisle.

This became a litmus test for the validity of impeachment as well as for Murkowski personally.  After all, if U.S. House impeachment managers couldn’t convince the moderate Murkowski on expanding their inquiry, it would be another indication of the weakness of their case.  

And just like her lack of support for Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018, a vote to allow additional witnesses would send a message to her home state supporters that she was, once again, out of step with her Republican colleagues. 

To her credit, Murkowski remained above the fray and said she would consider all sides prior to the vote.  In the end, in contrast to Senate Democrats, she remained thoughtful and deliberative, issuing this statement, in part, “…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.”

Later expanding her comments in a floor speech, she said “…the U.S. Constitution provides for impeachment but does not demand it in all instances. The voters will pronounce a verdict in nine months, and we must trust their judgment.” 

The final vote to allow additional witnesses and evidence ultimately failed 51-49 with the final vote on acquittal an anti-climax.  Unfortunately, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) chose to disparage Senate Republicans by questioning their motivations for rejecting impeachment by stating: “We knew this was an uphill fight. We’re not in the majority; we have a president who strikes fear in the hearts of Republicans.”

That statement must have surprised Murkowski, who has shown no fear when she crossed President Trump on more than one occasion previously.  While Murkowski is no fan of the President, she is true to herself.  Her vote proved she still has the courage to represent the interests of her Alaskan constituents and uphold her constitutional responsibilities as one of Alaska’s two senators.

And it proved something else.  The Democrats’ cynical and political use of impeachment backfired and has only bolstered the possibility of Trump’s re-election.

Win Gruening retired as the senior vice president in charge of business banking for Key Bank in 2012. He was born and raised in Juneau and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1970. He is active in community affairs as a 30-plus year member of Juneau Downtown Rotary Club and has been involved in various local and statewide organizations.

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  • I beg to differ Win. None of this circus would of happened if pelosi didn’t believe there was a better than even chance of success in the Senate

    Pelosi pinned her hopes on four RINOS.

    Go away Lisa.

    • Wally, you do realize that the Dems needed 20 Republicans to convict right? Why were hopes pinned on 4? Because of Witnesses? That wouldn’t have changed anything.

      Perhaps you can acknowledge that this was a good vote by Sen. Murkowski and move on?

  • Sorry, Win, but you strike out on this one.

    It’s true there were mountains of evidence, most of it damning. It’s true most of the witnesses gave 2nd hand testimony. It’s also true that Trump evoked executive privilege, or some such, to keep witnesses from testifying. And the Repub. Senate sealed the deal by refusing to call witnesses to testify during the trial. You missed that part. Perhaps the Senate didn’t want to hear witnesses because they were afraid of what they would say.

    The Dems could not overturn the 2016 election. This is a red herring. If Trump were removed, Pence would succeed him. Where this idea came from, I do not know, but it is patently wrong.

    Removal from office by the Senate is at its discretion. Abuse of power should certainly be reason to remove a President. And obstruction of Congress equally so. Do you believe extorting the complicity of a foreign government in rigging a national election is not an abuse of power? If not, what is? And if nothing, what’s to prevent a President from ruling like monarch? Or third world dictator. This is exactly why impeachment and removal from office exists. And the President most certainly has been impeached, although he was not removed from office by the Senate. They’re two different things. Impeachment by Congress, trial be Senate.
    The Senate vote not to hear witnesses can be seen as a way to expedite the process of voting for acquittal. If you are trying to avoid shedding new light on something, this is also a good way to do it. It makes a mockery of the “trial,” since information that could implicate, or exculpate, the President went unheard. The Senate Repubs accused the House of hurry their process and then went on to do the same thing themselves by not calling witnesses.

    I believe the Senate action not to hold a full hearing of the evidence in the trial of the President was both cynical and partisan. They are now the party of Trump. Whether that will backfire on them and what will be the consequences of their actions, along with fallout for the Dems, remains to be seen.

    • Greg R.
      Perhaps you missed the airing of evidence presented by the President’s defense team? The clip of old Joe yucking it up? Perhaps just a tiny bit of curiosity would compel you to revisit the real evidence Greg.

    • It’s the responsibility of the House to gather the evidence and send it to the Senate for judgement. If they did a poor job, it’s on them. They tried to rush it for some unknown reason and then held the articles of impeachment for a month. Pelosi knew how weak it was and never really wanted to proceed in the first place. She completely failed as Speaker to control the process. By the way, if someone like Biden decides to run for office, does that mean he cannot be investigated for he and his sons obvious malfeasance in Ukraine?

    • It’s not that all the evidence wasn’t heard (no republican evidence, to speak of, allowed). It’s what the idiot democrats tried to add to prolong the “trial”. Anyone awake, with an IQ above room temperature can recognize the “evidence” already “uncovered” by the house kangaroo court as outrageous lies. That is the house’s “impeachment” job. The house had to “hurry, hurry” with closed doors, no evidence or witnesses allowed for the republicans and complicit MSM. Then, they tried to slow the senate to a standstill with “new evidence” that was nothing more than the same old lies, deceit and phony “testimony” on other idiotic “charges” that turned out to be more lies. Partisan, my a*s. It was “truth or consequences”. The democrats crumbled at having to tell the truth, follow the rules and congressional etiquette and/or the American Constitution. You know that Constitution that guarantees all citizens, even the President, certain inalienable rights to face accusers, present testimony and witnesses and a fair “trial”.

  • You need to put the “whole” statement of Murkie in your prose and poetry…. She is actually quite an abusive woman and loves to use people in that abusive way… Wake up!!

  • From the article: “On the other hand, the American people now have proof that Congressional Democrats will stop at nothing to overturn the 2016 election of Donald Trump.”

    As further proof that they do not trust the American electorate, add their goose legged lock step action in which every Democrat Senator voted to convict President Trump on very flimsy charges.

  • “…moderate Murkowski”? As compared to whom? Bernie Sanders? The woman is a liberal.
    And the only thing “to her credit” is she is a survivor. She would have LOVED to put Trump out of office but she knows running as a Democrat next time will not work for her.
    The author is assigning to Lisa honorable motives not consistent with her past behavior. And who, by the way, are her constituents? We Republicans voted her out in 2008 and she told us: “Go to hell. I will be your senator no matter what you say”. So how could she ever have any respect for us?

  • One correct vote by Lisa does not cancel out the dozens of “incorrect” votes for a republican. She was forced to vote against impeachment or lose her “all expense paid ride into liberalism”. Still, a rino is a rino, until proven otherwise. That hasn’t happened yet. Lisa could well learn from Senator Sullivan but don’t count on it. She does not represent Alaska. She represents herself. Only an idiot (Romney) would have voted with the democrats. She’s not that stupid yet.

  • Win, you need the entire history of Lisa. Catholic. Privileged Class of Alaskans since 1980. Law school, but no real law practice. Won AK State house seat by a catswhisker. History made when Papa appoints her to his former US Senate seat after 6 weeks of agonizing the appointment. (John Binkley was Frank’s original choice through a promise made to the Binkley Family). Papa Frank’s Legacy badly bruised by Sarah Palin in a 2006 whipping. Lisa loses to conservative Joe Miller in 2010. Democrats and Papa run her in a write-in ballot. More history made. Pro-abortion, Catholic Lisa shifts loyalty from Republican to Democrat Party because she can rely on Democrats for future election victories in Alaska and keep Murkowski Legacy beyond 40 years and counting. It’s all about the Murkowski Legacy in Alaska and History being made. And that’s why we are organizing to Dump Lisa in 2022, Winn. Murkowski Legacy coming to a screeching end. Finally!

  • Who would want to hear evidence if the outcome is a loss of a majority in the senate come election time?

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