Impeachment: Young votes no, and Alaska’s senators aren’t likely to vote against Trump, either

In September, a day after the White House released a rough transcript of a call that became the heart of the impeachment case, protesters took to the Capitol lawn. (Photo by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Congressman Don Young, like all House Republicans, voted against impeaching President Trump today, and both of Alaska’s U.S. senators appear likely to vote against removing the president from office.

“Frankly, this has been a political stunt all along,” Young said in a statement issued after the vote.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski sometimes breaks Republican ranks, but she said last week she was not impressed with the impeachment proceedings in the House. She said the testimonial evidence wasn’t as substantial as expected. 

Democrats say they might have had more but the White House wouldn’t allow administration officials to testify, and that’s the basis of their obstruction-of-Congress charge. 

Murkowski isn’t buying that argument.

“In fairness, if you seek that information, there is a way there is a process to gain that, and that is through the subpoenas going to the courts,” she said.

(Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that would take too long, allowing Trump to “cheat” in his 2020 re-election race.)

Trump has repeatedly called the impeachment process an “attempted coup.” But, Murkowski said, whether you agree or disagree with the grounds on which the House case is built, it’s clear the House is exercising a power granted to it in the Constitution.

“So I would disagree that they lack the constitutional authority … .I would not use ‘coup’ as a word, no,” she said.

Sen. Dan Sullivan has been against the impeachment process since its early days. In October, he said he didn’t see anything seriously wrong in the phone call at the heart of the case. 

“Are there things on a call like this that I would have done? Probably not,” Sullivan said. “But this is the big issue … are these impeachable offenses, right?”

Democrats charge the president used the power of his office to pressure the leader of Ukraine for investigations to help his re-election campaign. Sullivan said the president was trying to get information about the 2016 election, which he sees as a legitimate inquiry.

Short of their vote on the articles of impeachment, Alaska’s senators may have an opportunity to shape the trial in a more subtle way. Senate Democrats would need at least four Republicans to cross the aisle to summon the current and former White House officials they want to call to testify.

Murkowski hasn’t announced which witnesses she wants to see, but she says if the  whistleblower is compelled to answer questions, it should be in a way that protects his or her identity. 

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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