Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), considered a potential swing vote in the Senate’s impeachment trial, said that she “cannot” vote to convict President Donald Trump on either article of impeachment passed by the House.
Speaking on the Senate floor on Monday, Murkowski voiced her disapproval of Trump’s actions and slammed him for not “upholding the integrity” of the office of the president.
“The president’s actions are shameful and wrong,” Murkowski said, adding, “His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation.”
“The president has the responsibility to uphold the integrity and the honor of the office. Not just for himself, but for all future presidents. Degrading the office by actions or even name-calling weakens it for future presidents, and it weakens our country.”
However, she said she could not vote to convict Trump on either article of impeachment and suggested that the House could have pushed for a motion to censure the president instead.
“The response to the president’s actions is not to disenfranchise nearly 63 million Americans and remove him from the ballot. The House could have pursued censure and not immediately jumped to remedy of last resort. I cannot vote to convict. The Constitution provides for impeachment but does not demand it in all instances.”
Watch Murkowski’s speech below:
Additionally, she slammed the “careless media” for allegedly trying to “put out the fire with gasoline” by stoking a conversation about calling witnesses, rather than focusing on the arguments and facts in the case.
She knocked the impeachment process and alleged that House Democrats “rushed” the impeachment to meet an “artificial, self-imposed deadline.”
However, Murkowski rebuked lawmakers from both sides for not keeping an open mind throughout the proceedings.
“The House failed in its responsibilities. And the Senate, the Senate should be ashamed by the rank partisanship that has been on display here,” she said, later adding, “It is clear to me that few in this chamber approached this with a genuinely open mind.”
Murkowski added that when she felt that the impeachment process threatened to damage the reputation of the Supreme Court, she decided to vote against witnesses.
“And when it became clear, that a tie vote here in the Senate would simply be used to burn down our third branch of government for partisan, political purposes I said, ‘Enough.'”
Other lawmakers have floated the idea of censuring the president instead of proceeding with impeachment. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called for a motion to censure Trump but added that he still is undecided on whether he will vote to convict Trump.
Murkowski is one of several senators seen as potential swing votes in the upcoming vote on the articles of impeachment. There are three Democratic senators — including Manchin— and two Republicans who appear to be undecided, but they could announce their decision shortly.
Senators are scheduled to deliver speeches Tuesday through Wednesday afternoon to explain their decision on how they’ll vote on the articles of impeachment.
The Senate is expected to hold an up or down vote on the articles of impeachment on Wednesday.