Murkowski says no to witnesses in Trump impeachment trial. For now.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, listens to panelists at a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in Cordova on June 10, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump begins Tuesday with a debate over how to proceed.

Senate Democrats are expected to push for amendments demanding witnesses. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told reporters Saturday in Anchorage that she will vote with Republican leaders against those amendments.

But Murkowski said no one should assume she will oppose calling witnesses later.

“People may look at my vote and say, ‘Well, I thought she wanted an opportunity to hear from additional people. She had an opportunity to vote on that on Tuesday and she said no, she was going to table it,’” Murkowski told reporters Saturday at her office in Anchorage. “Well, the reason I would support a tabling motion is because of the very structured process.”

Murkowski wants to follow the process established for the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, which would have senators voting on witnesses only after they hear the case presented by House managers and the defense attorneys. She said she’s concerned her initial votes on the procedure will cause confusion on that point.

Murkowski is widely viewed as a swing vote on impeachment. She said she’s committed to delivering impartial justice and is not focused on the political pressure.

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