Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the first Republican lawmaker who had voted to convict former President Donald Trump to publicly speak out about his third indictment as of Wednesday morning.
Murkowski, in a series of social media posts shortly after the indictment was handed down Tuesday evening, defended her decision to vote to convict Trump in a February 2021 Senate trial — following his second impeachment by the House — for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, saying that she voted based on “clear evidence that he attempted to overturn the 2020 election after losing it.”
“Additional evidence presented since then, including by the January 6 Commission, has only reinforced that the former President played a key role in instigating the riots, resulting in physical violence and desecration of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” she said.
Trump was indicted for a third time on Tuesday when federal prosecutors charged him with conspiring to seize a second term after losing the 2020 election.
Murkowski added that Trump “is innocent until proven guilty and will have his day in court,” and encouraged people to read the indictment “to understand the very serious allegations being made in this case.”
The Alaska Republican, who won reelection last year, was one of seven senators in her party who voted to convict Trump in 2021, joining all 50 Democrats.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah did not give the same full-throated reaction as Murkowski, but provided a statement to the Washington Examiner on Tuesday evening: “My views on the former president’s actions surrounding January 6th are well known. As with all criminal defendants, he is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence.”
Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who voted to convict and are still in office, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the indictment.
Others who voted to convict but aren’t in office, including Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, also have not publicly commented.
After Trump’s first impeachment, in 2020, Murkowski voted against convicting him, instead calling his behavior “shameful and wrong.”
Trump was acquitted in the first impeachment trial after a push by House Democrats to investigate and impeach him for allegedly withholding U.S. military aid from Ukraine to pressure its leaders to investigate his Democratic rivals, including President Joe Biden. The impeachment articles also charged Trump with obstructing the House’s investigation into the matter.
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