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Republican senator 'disturbed' at her party's closeness to Donald Trump ahead of impeachment

“It means that we have to take that step back from being hand-in-glove with the defence,” Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said.

A REPUBLICAN SENATOR has said that she is “disturbed” with how her party is coordinating with the White House over the impeachment trial in the Senate.

Donald Trump has been charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in relation to claims that he withheld some $391 million in aid to Ukraine on the proviso that its President Volodymyr Zelensky would investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden (more specifically, the links that Biden’s son Hunter has to the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma).

The House of Representatives, which has a Democrat majority, voted to bring charges against Trump forward. A two-thirds majority (67 Senators) is needed to convict Trump on each charge, and there is a Republican majority of 53 in the 100-seat Senate.

The process is highly political: if the Senate doesn’t want to try Trump at all, it can simply dismiss the case by a simple majority vote. Given Trump’s political hold over his party, the rules can be dictated by the White House itself.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been disagreeing over the ground rules for President Donald Trump’s Senate trial.

Now, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said McConnell had “confused the process” by saying he was acting in “total coordination” with the White House on setting the parameters for the trial.

Those comments that McConnell made were: “We’ll be working through this process, hopefully in a fairly short period of time, in total coordination with White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate.”

“There is zero chance that the president will be removed from office,” McConnell added.

“And in fairness, when I heard that, I was disturbed,” Alaskan senator Murkowski told KTUU, an affiliate of CNN.

To me, it means that we have to take that step back from being hand-in-glove with the defence, and so I heard what Leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process.

murkowski-impeachment Patrick Semansky Patrick Semansky

Earlier in the week, Pelosi, who is the speaker of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, said she is not yet ready to name her team for Trump’s trial in the Republican-majority Senate.

“The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct,” Pelosi said on Twitter.

Murkowski also said that she was looking for a “full and fair process” that uses the impeachment against Bill Clinton as a model.

She said that she’s unsure whether she will vote to remove Trump from office, saying it would be “wrong” of her to decide before the trial begins.

- with reporting from AFP

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