Democrats continue to hold their articles of impeachment tight, perhaps in their secure basement facility in defiance of the Constitution, but that doesn’t bother Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Under the Sixth Amendment, President Donald Trump has the right to a speedy trial but that doesn’t seem to concern her at all. Even more grievous is the articles didn’t get anywhere close to meeting the constitutional mandate of “high crimes and misdemeanors” to justify impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said last Thursday that she would delay sending the impeachment articles to the Senate until she was given a clear road map of “the process that is set forth in the Senate” for the trial. “We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” said Pelosi.
Former President George W. Bush senior adviser Karl Rove wrote in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, “Pelosi is venturing into treacherous constitutional territory. Article I gives the House “the sole power of impeachment” and the Senate “the sole power to try all impeachments.” By attempting to prevent the process from proceeding unless Mr. McConnell acquiesces to her demands for additional witnesses and documents, Mrs. Pelosi is attempting to intrude on the Senate’s constitutional prerogatives and create a role for herself in the trial that the Founders didn’t intend.”
What really upsets Murkowski is when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he will work in “total coordination” with the White House during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, if there ever is one. She told NBC affiliate KTUU Tuesday, “When I heard that I was disturbed.”
Murkowski was quick to quote the Senate’s responsibility under the Constitution, claiming, “To me it means we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense. And so I heard what Leader McConnell had said, I happen to think that that has further confused the process.”
“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,” claimed Murkowski.
She was notably mum as Democrats denied Trump his due process rights under the Constitution during the impeachment inquiry. Democrats denied him the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence and to have counsel present.
Murkowski withheld her support of a resolution introduced in October by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, condemning the conduct of the inquiry which was held initially in secret from a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility in the Capitol basement. It was sanctioned by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi without a full House vote.
The Graham-McConnell resolution called on the House of Representatives, “prior to proceeding any further with its impeachment investigation into President Trump, to vote to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry; to provide President Trump, like every other American, with due process, to include the ability to confront his accusers, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment; and to provide members of the minority with the ability to participate fully in all proceedings and have equal authority to issue subpoenas and other compulsory process.”
Graham said in a statement: “One of the cornerstones of American jurisprudence is due process — the right to confront your accuser, call witnesses on your behalf, and challenge the accusations against you. None of this is occurring in the House.”
“House Democrats are even denying their own Republican colleagues basic procedural rights that the minority party was granted throughout previous impeachments,” the statement noted.
He pointed out that during the impeachment inquiry of President Clinton, Democrats were in the minority of the House of Representatives. They had the ability to subpoena witnesses and documents on President Clinton’s behalf. President Clinton’s lawyers were also able to participate in examining witnesses, subpoenaing documents, introducing and objecting to evidence, and otherwise defending the President against the accusations made against him.
“From the get go, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have handled this impeachment inquiry poorly, from closed-door hearings and leaked information to the outright abandonment of decades of established precedent on due process for the accused. A serious lack of transparency will hardly build public trust or credibility for the House’s actions,” Murkowski said in an October statement.
But she added that, “as awful as their process is, the formal impeachment inquiry lies in the House, and it’s not the Senate’s role to dictate to the House how to determine their own rules.”
Murkowski told the ABC affiliate Tuesday, “If it means that I am viewed as one who looks openly and critically at every issue in front of me rather than acting as a rubber stamp for my party or my president, I am totally good with that. I am totally, totally good with that.”
Republicans like Murkowski go all constitutional when it suits their agendas. When it doesn’t, they couldn’t care less. Luckily Trump won’t get stuck in a foxhole with her kind anytime soon.