Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced she will vote to acquit President Donald Trump, just days after she and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) voted to call in witnesses.
Fellow moderates Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also said they would acquit, raising the possibility for a bipartisan acquittal for Trump in the Senate.
“I believe that the president has learned from this case,” Collins told CBS News on Feb. 4, adding that Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives was “a pretty big lesson.”
The Senate plans to vote Feb. 5 on whether to acquit or convict Trump for charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, stemming from his dealings with Ukraine. It’s highly likely that Trump will be acquitted, as the Senate has a 67-vote threshold for removing a sitting president.
“I’m voting to acquit. Because I do not believe that the behavior alleged reaches the high bar in the Constitution for overturning an election and removing a duly elected president,” Collins said, adding that Trump’s actions didn’t amount to high crimes or misdemeanors.
The Maine Republican said she believes that the critical words offered by senators on the floor will make Trump reconsider how he handles foreign aid in the future.
“There has been criticism by both Republican and Democratic senators of his call,” Collins said. “I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future.”
The impeachment centered around a whistleblower complaint about Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked Zelensky about whether the Ukrainian president could “look into” allegations of 2016 election interference and the activities of both Joe and Hunter Biden. Democrats said Trump withheld aid from Kyiv to exert pressure on Zelenksy, which both Trump and Zelensky have denied.
“The president’s call was wrong. He should not have mentioned Joe Biden in it, despite his overall concern about corruption in Ukraine,” Collins said. “The president of the United States should not be asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival. That is just improper. It was far from a perfect call.”
Collins is up for reelection in November, but she told CBS that she’s not worried about whether her vote will hurt her chances moving forward.
“I’m sure there are going to be people unhappy with me in Maine. All I can do is apply the constitutional standard. And that’s my job,” Collins added. “My job is not to weigh the political consequences, but to do impartial justice to live up to the oath that I took.”