Lisa Murkowski on the floor of the Senate:
I rise to address the trial of Donald John Trump. The founders gave this body the sole power to try all impeachments, and exercising that power is a weighty responsibility.
The President’s behavior was shameful and wrong. His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation. The president has the responsibility to uphold the integrity and honor of the office. Not just for himself but for all future presidents. Degrading the office, by actions or even name calling, weakens it for future presidents, and weakens our country.
The House could have pursued censure, not immediately jumped to the remedy of last resort. I cannot vote to convict. The Constitution provides for impeachment, but does not demand it in all instances.
This process has been the apotheosis of the problem of Congressional abdication. Through the refusal to exercise war powers, or relinquishing the power of the purse, selective oversight, and an unwillingness to check emergency declarations designed to skirt Congress – we have failed time and time again.
From Paul Krugman at The New York Times (Opinion):
How Zombies Ate the G.O.P.’s Soul
Is this the week American democracy dies? Quite possibly.
After all, everyone in Washington understands perfectly well that Donald Trump abused the powers of his office in an attempt to rig this year’s presidential election. But Senate Republicans are nonetheless about to acquit him without even pretending to look at the evidence, thereby encouraging further abuses of power.
A zombie idea is a belief or doctrine that has repeatedly been proved false, but refuses to die; instead, it just keeps shambling along, eating people’s brains. The ultimate zombie in American politics is the assertion that tax cuts pay for themselves — a claim that has been proved wrong again and again over the past 40 years. But there are other zombies, like climate change denial, that play an almost equally large role in our political discourse.
And all of the really important zombies these days are on the right. Indeed, they have taken over the Republican Party.
It was not always thus. Back in 1980 George H.W. Bush called Ronald Reagan’s extravagant claims about the effectiveness of tax cuts “voodoo economic policy.” Everything that has happened since has vindicated his original assessment. Deficits ballooned after Reagan cut taxes; they shrank and eventually turned into surpluses after Bill Clinton raised taxes, then ballooned again after George W. Bush’s tax cuts.…snip…
It’s important to realize that the zombification of the G.O.P. isn’t a recent phenomenon, something that happened only with Trump’s election. On the contrary, zombies have been eating Republican brains for decades.
What recent events make clear, however, is that zombie ideas haven’t eaten just Republicans’ brains. They have also eaten the party’s soul.
Think about what is now required for a Republican politician to be considered a party member in good standing. He or she must pledge allegiance to policy doctrines that are demonstrably false; he or she must, in effect, reject the very idea of paying attention to evidence.
It takes a certain kind of person to play that kind of game — namely, a cynical careerist. There used to be Republican politicians who were more than that, but they were mainly holdovers from an earlier era, and at this point have all left the scene, one way or another. John McCain may well have been the last of his kind.
What’s left now is a party that, as far as I can tell, contains no politicians of principle; anyone who does have principles has been driven out.
Now, the news media, with its constant urge to seem “balanced,” has a hard time coping with this reality; it’s always looking for ways to portray at least some Republicans as admirable figures. This has made it easy prey for charlatans like Paul Ryan, who pretended to be serious about his fiscal principles. But he was always an obvious flimflam man.
I guess you might have hoped that there would be some limits to what these apparatchiks would accept, that even they would draw the line at gross abuses of power and collusion with foreign autocrats. What we’ve learned, however — and perhaps more important, what Trump has learned — is that there is no line. If Trump wants to dismantle democracy and rule of law (which he does), his party will stand with him all the way.