Alaska Sen. Murkowski says reaction to Trump indictment already ‘too politicized’

A day after a New York grand jury voted to indict former President Donald Trump, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a sharp critic of the former president, said she’s afraid the indictment has “already become too politicized.”

Trump faces unprecedented criminal charges relating to hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Thursday’s indictment prompted a flurry of reactions from lawmakers across the political spectrum, both celebrating and castigating it.

“The reality is that no one is above the law, whether you are a sitting president or a former president, no one is above the law. Having said that, we have laws and we have a process that we follow,” Murkowski said Friday afternoon, answering a question about the indictment while appearing at a conference in Anchorage.

“My expectation is that every bit of due process is afforded the former president as we move throughout this. I do feel that this will be made into more of a political issue, pitting Americans one against another. It’s not going to further the discourse or the dialogue, and I think that that is unfortunate,” Murkowski said.

“What I would hope — those who speak out on this and those who report about this — do so in a tempered manner, with a respect for a process that needs to be nothing but thorough and fair and balanced every step of the way,” Murkowski concluded.

Murkowski was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his 2021 impeachment trial.

Her tone was different from that of many of her Republican colleagues, including Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, who called the indictment an “abuse of the rule of law,” said the indictment marks “a sad day for our nation” and called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “local partisan prosecutor.”


“The indictment of a former president and current candidate for the White House is unprecedented and will almost certainly do lasting damage to our polarized nation. Both local and federal prosecutors have previously declined to bring charges,” Sullivan said in a Friday morning statement.

“The American people will see through this abuse of the rule of law,” Sullivan said.

[After Trump indictment, Republicans focus ire on Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg]

Earlier this month, Sullivan left open the possibility that he would support Trump’s campaign for president in 2024. On ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos asked Sullivan if he would back Trump in 2024 if he wins the Republican nomination, even if he is indicted.

“Well, look, that’s a huge hypothetical right now on the indictment issue. We’ll see if that plays out. But right now my plan is to ... support who becomes the nominee,” Sullivan said at the time.

A spokesperson for Sullivan did not respond to a question after Thursday’s indictment asking if the senator maintains this position.

Sullivan called on Trump to drop out of the 2016 presidential race when a video was released revealing Trump bragging about forcing himself on a woman. After Trump became president, Sullivan strongly supported his administration, and in the 2020 election said he planned to vote for him.

[Trump and advisers caught off guard by timing of indictment]

[Here’s what the Trump indictment means and what happens next]

Alaska Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola said she “will entrust the legal system to adjudicate this matter.”

“As a member of the legislative branch, I will continue to focus on advocating for Alaskans in Congress,” she said in a statement.

Rogerson reported from Washington, D.C. Samuels reported from Anchorage.

• • •
Support our reporting

Reporter Riley Rogerson is a full-time reporter for the ADN based in Washington, D.C. Her position is supported by Report for America, which is working to fill gaps in reporting across America and to place a new generation of journalists in community news organizations around the country. Report for America, funded by both private and public donors, covers up to 50% of a reporter’s salary. It’s up to Anchorage Daily News to find the other half, through local community donors, benefactors, grants or other fundraising activities.

If you would like to make a personal, tax-deductible contribution to her position, you can make a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation via adn.com/RFA. You can also donate by check, payable to “The GroundTruth Project.” Send it to Report for America/Anchorage Daily News, c/o The GroundTruth Project, 10 Guest Street, Boston, MA 02135. Please put Anchorage Daily News/Report for America in the check memo line.

Riley Rogerson

Riley Rogerson is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Washington, D.C., and is a fellow with Report for America. Contact her at rrogerson@adn.com.

Iris Samuels

Iris Samuels is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News focusing on state politics. She previously covered Montana for The AP and Report for America and wrote for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at isamuels@adn.com.