Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Friday she will vote against extending the impeachment trial to hear witnesses, saying it’s become clear President Trump can’t get a fair trial no matter what.
“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,” the Alaska Democrat said in a statement.
With her support, Republicans believe they have at least 51 votes to close the trial down and move to a final vote acquitting the president.
Ms. Murkowski’s statement was the latest to fault House Democrats for bungling the case, rushing to meet a Christmas deadline for impeaching the president without fully pursuing all of the witnesses they now want the Senate to hear from.
Democrats said the lack of new witnesses in the Senate — the first time that will ever have happened — taints the trial, and puts an asterisk next to an eventual acquittal.
One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said she is backing witnesses.
But other senators thought to be swing votes have said they won’t.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, said late Thursday that he does not agree with Mr. Trump that his call asking Ukraine to provide dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was “perfect.”
But Mr. Alexander said with an election looming, it’s up to voters to make a judgment on the president.
Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, said several other senators agreed with Mr. Alexander’s sense that the president’s behavior was inappropriate.
“He speaks for lots and lots of us,” Mr. Sasse said.
On Friday Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, also said he opposes calling witnesses, saying it’s time Congress gets beyond impeachment and returns to legislative business.
“The House did not even bother to subpoena and resolve privilege claims of key witnesses they now want the Senate to subpoena for them,” he said in a statement. “I believe it sets a dangerous precedent — all but guaranteeing a proliferation of highly partisan, poorly investigated impeachments in the future — if we allow the House of Representatives to force the Senate to compel witness testimony that they never secured for themselves.”