A key swing vote on impeachment witnesses privately met with Mitch McConnell: report

A key swing vote on impeachment witnesses privately met with Mitch McConnell: report
Senator Murkowski Speaks on the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment

Whether or not the U.S. Senate votes to feature witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will come down to a handful of Republican senators. One of them is Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and the New York Times is reporting that the Alaska Republican privately met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday.

Murkowski, as of Thursday morning, was neither a firm yes nor a firm no when it came to how she would vote on the inclusion of impeachment witnesses. On Monday, Murkowski tweeted that she had “said before I was curious what Ambassador Bolton might have to say, and I’m still curious.” But while the Alaska senator indicated in her tweet that she was open to the possibility of voting to include impeachment witnesses — including former National Security Adviser John Bolton — she didn’t make a firm commitment.

Assuming that all Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted to include impeachment witnesses, at least four Republican senators would be needed in order for a vote in favor of including witnesses to pass. Many Republican senators are loyal Trumpistas who remain adamantly opposed to including witnesses, but Murkowski — along with Utah’s Mitt Romney, Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander and Maine’s Susan Collins — have often been mentioned as possible swing votes on witnesses.

Murkowski, although conservative, has been a key swing vote in the past. The Alaska Republican bucked her party when, in 2017, she voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare — and the following year, she voted against the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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