Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was among the Republican Senators who voted to acquit President Donald Trump at the end of his recent impeachment trial while making a show of arguments like the claim that he had supposedly learned his lesson, or something — but if the news of the last few days alone is any indication, he most definitely has not. Faced with the inescapably documented facts of the president’s behavior, which has recently included pressure on the Justice Department to lighten their sentencing recommendation for his longtime pal Roger Stone, Murkowski admitted Trump definitely hadn’t learned his lesson, or whatever, while speaking to reporters this week.
New York Times correspondent Nicholas Fandos noted that after the Senator was “asked by reporters if Trump learned a lesson from impeachment,” she briskly replied:
‘There haven’t been very strong indicators this week that he has.’
Murkowski asked by reporters if Trump learned a lesson from impeachment: “There haven’t been very strong indicators this week that he has.”
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) February 12, 2020
Murkowski also commented against Trump’s meddling in Stone’s case, although she tried to focus on the part that technically, the president doesn’t seem to have signed off on a sentencing reduction.
‘I don’t think the president should be determining what the sentences are but he’s not.’
Indeed, his political appointees at the Justice Department are, and it would be absolutely ludicrous to suggest that they’re doing so without an acute consciousness of the president’s take on the whole situation.
On Roger Stone: “I don’t think the president should be determining what the sentences are but he’s not,” Murkowski said
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 12, 2020
The original “learned his lesson” comment seems to have come from Maine’s Susan Collins, a fellow Republican who also voted to acquit the president.
She commented, in reference to the president:
‘He was impeached, and there has been criticism by both Republican and Democratic senators of his call. I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future… The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson.’
Murkowski, originally, argued (like others did) that Trump’s fate should simply be left to voters to decide.
‘The president’s name is on ballots that have already been cast. The voters will pronounce a verdict in nine months, and we must trust their judgment.’
The problem is that the Constitution doesn’t say that “when the House impeaches a president, the Senate should refuse to hear evidence at the subsequent trial and make a show of turning over the final decision to voters, or something.” No; instead, it outlines a plan for the Senate to actually hold a trial, which in any traditional understanding of the term, includes witness testimony and other evidence — all of which Murkowski voted against allowing, arguing that the whole impeachment process had been too tainted by partisanship and attempting to subsequently wash her hands of it rather than actually engaging.
‘The Senate should be ashamed by the rank partisanship that has been on display here.’
But she didn’t actually do anything about it.
Now, the Justice Department is struggling to maintain integrity. After that debacle in Stone’s case, in which political higher-ups intervened against the U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C., every prosecutor from that office who’d been on the case withdrew in apparent protest. Apparently — unlike Murkowski — they had a plan for how to avoid getting used as a political pawn by the president.