Senator Lisa Murkowski has just released a statement explaining that she will vote against witnesses, giving Republicans the 51 votes they need to block the motion:
CNBC – Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Friday that she will vote against admitting additional evidence in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, a decision that effectively killed Democrats’ hopes of winning over four Republicans and adding a witness phase to the trial.
On Friday, Murkowski issued the following statement.
“I worked for a fair, honest, and transparent process, modeled after the Clinton trial, to provide ample time for both sides to present their cases, ask thoughtful questions, and determine whether we need more.
“The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that 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. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.
“It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.
“We are sadly at a low point of division in this country.”
As Manu Raju points out, Chief Justice John Roberts will not have to consider whether to be the deciding vote or not:
51 ‘no’ votes. 49 ‘yes’ votes. This way Roberts won’t have to consider breaking a tie. And GOP leaders wanted to avoid 50-50 split since they believe it would have been harder to message, particularly for senators up for re-election over casting the decisive vote
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 31, 2020
Which is honestly a sigh of relief. I should note that Murkowski is getting scorched on Twitter by angry Democrats calling her a disgrace and what not. I’d post their tweets here, but really, what’s the point. Kudos to Murkowski for having courage enough to do what is right today.