Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) addresses reporters in the Capitol on February 10, 2021.Greg Nash/CNP/ZUMA

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Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of seven Republicans who voted Saturday to convict former President Donald Trump with inciting the January 6 attack on the Capitol, explained her decision in a scathing statement Sunday morning. 

“The facts make clear that the violence and desecration of the Capitol that we saw on January 6 was not a spontaneous uprising,” Murkowski said. “President Trump had set the stage months before the 2020 election by stating repeatedly that the election was rigged, casting doubt into the minds of the American people about the fairness of the election.”

In her more than 800 word statement, Murkowski outlines Trump’s lies after election day about the election results, his attempts to pressure officials in key states and in the Justice Department to help him overturn his loss, and his efforts to rile up his supporters. She notes that Trump watched the attack on the Capitol without trying to stop it, attacked his vice president in a tweet while rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence” were searching for Pence inside the Capitol, and effectively endorsed the mob’s actions in a tweet that night.

“President Trump allowing the violence to go on for hours without any clear directive or demand for peace – his intentional silence – cost Americans their lives,” she says. “President Trump was not concerned about the Vice President; he was not concerned about members of Congress; he was not concerned about the Capitol Police. He was concerned about his election and retaining power. ”

Murkowski’s statement is an implicit rebuke of the 43 Senate Republicans who voted to acquit Trump on Saturday. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and many in his caucus justified those votes by asserting the Senate lacks the power to convict a former president, an argument rejected by most Constitutional scholars and by the Senate itself in a vote last week.

“If months of lies, organizing a rally of supporters in an effort to thwart the work of Congress, encouraging a crowd to march on the Capitol, and then taking no meaningful action to stop the violence once it began is not worthy of impeachment, conviction, and disqualification from holding office in the United States, I cannot imagine what is,” Murkowksi said.

Here’s her conclusion: “One positive outcome of the horrible events on January 6, was that hours after the Capitol was secured, on January 7, at 4:00 a.m., Congress fulfilled our responsibility to the U.S. Constitution and certified the Electoral College results. We were able to do that because of brave men and women who fulfilled their oath to protect and defend Congress. I regret that Donald Trump was not one of them.”

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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