ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) The United States' Senate will resume the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, but over the extended holiday weekend, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is in Alaska. On Saturday, Murkowski fielded questions from reporters from across the state. The topic: her role in a Senate trial that most anticipate will be divided down party lines.
Murkowksi says she was called upon to work as part of the group that would lay out a fair and transparent model for the trial. The group has decided on a set of rules that were modeled of the Clinton impeachment, but a 51% majority vote from the Senate will be needed to set those rules in place. At that point, the highly debated topic of whether or not additional witnesses should be called will arise.
"There will be an effort to force motion on whether or not certain individuals will be called as witnesses to the preceding," Murkowski said.
She anticipates that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will include a list of names that he'd like to secure as witnesses as part of the organizing resolution. She also anticipates that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell will table any such motion.
"I will tell you right now, I will be one of those that is in support a tabling motion," Murkowski said.
Murkowski went on to say that she is not ready to make a decision when asked about whether or not she feels it is necessary to hear from individuals like White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton or Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no'...and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."
In December, Murkowski told KTUU she was "disturbed" by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge of total coordination with the White House during impeachment proceedings.
Since then, she has been labeled by many as a potential swing vote. When asked about that designation, Murkowski said her decisions often boil down to considering an issue's impact on her constituents over party politics.
"This is not a role that's new to me, but I certainly don't relish it," she said.
As part of the rules that are set to be discussed, members of the Senate would not be allowed to speak during the trail and cellphones will be forbidden. Any questions will be submitted in written form and read aloud by presiding Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.