The House Democrats’ handling of the Trump impeachment to date may be turning off Republicans — notably, those seen as possible defectors in a final vote.
First signs of a backlash among that critical group came Wednesday when Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a moderate member of the conference, said she was offended by House manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s assertion that GOP members voting against allowing new testimony and evidence were engaged in a “cover-up.”
“I took it as offensive,” she told reporters Wednesday. “As one who is listening attentively and working hard to get to a fair process, I was offended.”
Nadler’s opening statement, which led to U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts admonishing those in the chamber, accused Republican senators of “voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses, an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote.”
Murkowski’s complaint about Nadler’s remarks is particularly noteworthy, as she is among the small group of Republican senators seen as a possible swing vote on impeachment and a possible supporter of allowing more witness testimony later on in the trial.
But Murkowski is not alone—Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Wednesday said Democrats “took a huge step backward” in their opening.
“I mean, that’s an extraordinary thing to say on the floor of the United States Senate, the middle of the trial, and that’s what drew the rebuke and rightly so,” Hawley told reporters. “I can tell you, there was an open, open gasping on the Senate floor when Nadler was saying these things. I mean, it’s really, really extraordinary.”
He added: “If the goal was to persuade, they took a huge step backward last night.
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