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Saturday, 25 January 2020

'Murkowski is PISSED': Schiff angers GOP Senators in closing remarks, gets vocal condemnation from chamber

House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) angered Republican senators in his closing argument urging the ouster of President Donald Trump on Friday, drawing vocal condemnation during his speech in the upper chamber.

Several Republicans spoke out against Schiff's remarks, and the reaction from moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) caused a Politico reporter to declare: "Murkowski is PISSED."

What are the details?

During Schiff's closing, he referenced a CBS News story from earlier in the day, reporting that an anonymous "confidant" of President Trump told the outlet that Republican senators were warned: "vote against the president and your head will be on a pike."
After quoting the uncredited statement during his speech on the Senate floor, Schiff said, "Now, I don't know if that's true," before regurgitating it again. "I have to say, when I read that — and, again, I don't know if that's true — but when I read that I was struck by the irony...I hope it's not true."
"But I was struck by the irony," Schiff repeated, before digging in further. "When we're talking about a president who would make himself a monarch, that whoever that [source] was would use the terminology of a penalty that was imposed by a monarch: a head on a pike." 
According to multiple reporters in the Senate chamber, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) reacted to Schiff immediately by saying out loud several times from the floor, "That's not true," and shaking her head regarding the "head on a pike" comments. Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) also said aloud, "That's not true."
Collins said in a statement afterward, "Not only have I never heard the 'head on the pike' line but also I know of no Republican Senator who has been threatened in any way by anyone in the Administration."
Collins is a moderate, and her vote is being closely watched in impeachment proceedings, along with Murkowski, who said after Schiff's speech, "He was doing fine with moral courage until he got to the head on the pike. That's where he lost me."
That quote from Murkowski led Politico reporter Burgess Everett to tweet: "Murkowski is PISSED."
Republicans control the Senate, but GOP moderates are House Democrats' best hope if they want to gain traction in their impeachment efforts against the president.
More conservative Republicans also reacted to Schiff's remarks. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, "He did a lot of damage to his credibility in insulting the senators." Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said, "He just capped it off with being insulting to everybody." GOP leadership member Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) agreed, saying, Schiff "offended every Republican senator."

Anything else?

Not every Republican reacted with anger. According to a USAToday reporter, when Schiff made his "head on a pike" statement, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) "laughed at the remark, pulled out his fidget spinner, and started twirling it."

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