GOP Sen. Murkowski, who voted to impeach Trump, appears to support latest criminal indictment

 August 5, 2023

Former President Donald Trump was criminally indicted for a second time this past week by Special Counsel Jack Smith, this time about his efforts to challenge the disputed results of the 2020 election as well as the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 that temporarily delayed the congressional certification of those election results.

Now one of the handful of Republicans who sided with Democrats and voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), appeared to signal her support for the new indictment against the former president, according to Politico.

However, much to the dismay of Democrats and Trump-haters like Murkowski, this third criminal indictment in nearly as many months only further fuels the narrative that Trump is the victim of persecution by the political establishment, as evidenced by the surge in poll numbers and fundraising numbers in support of him.

Murkowski signals support for latest indictment

In a thread of tweets posted Tuesday evening, Sen. Murkowski wrote, "In early 2021, I voted to impeach former President Trump 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 continued.

"Today, the former President has been indicted on four criminal counts. Like all Americans, he is innocent until proven guilty and will have his day in court," the Alaska senator added. "As that process begins, I encourage everyone to read the indictment, to understand the very serious allegations being made in this case."

"Presumption of innocence" receives lip service from Trump-haters

Politico noted that former President Trump was acquitted in the Jan. 2021 impeachment, which accused him of inciting the Capitol riot by way of his alleged lies about election fraud, as only seven Senate Republicans joined all 50 Senate Democrats in voting to convict him, falling short of the 60-vote threshold necessary to remove Trump from office.

Sen. Murkowski was among that group of seven, as was Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who said in a statement of the latest criminal indictment, "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."

With the exception of GOP establishment folks like Murkowski and Romney, the "presumption of innocence" for Trump among a majority of Republican voters is exceptionally strong with regard to the seemingly apparent political motivations behind the unrelenting attacks against the former president.

Still "Teflon Don" -- but for how much longer?

Indeed, NPR observed this week that, at least thus far, former President Trump's "Teflon Don" nickname -- in which nothing negative ever seems to stick or hurt him, be it political scandals or criminal indictments -- has lived up to its billing.

The outlet noted that Trump enjoyed a boost in the polls in the immediate aftermath of the prior two indictments against him -- the first of which came from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over allegedly falsified business records related to the not-illegal paying of "hush money" to accusers in 2016, followed months later by Special Counsel Jack Smith in relation to Trump's alleged retention of classified documents after he left the White House.

Those bumps in the former president's support among Republican primary voters that coincide with the issuance of indictments against him can quite clearly be seen in the RealClearPolitics graphical display of all of the Republican candidates' standing in the polls over time.

NPR further reported that in addition to his rise in the polls following the prior indictments, Trump has also received surges in donations to his campaign, even as it has become clear that a sizeable portion of those contributions is being diverted to help cover his mounting legal expenses.

All of that said, however, while the criminal indictments have quite clearly solidified the GOP base in support of the embattled ex-president, it seems just as probable that they have solidified Trump's opposition, particularly among independents and swing voters, which sets up a possibility that will surely make Democrats smile -- that Trump overwhelmingly wins the Republican nomination but then falls short and loses the general election.

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