Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Republican and Democratic leadership in the Senate should not weigh in on the pending impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Collins, who has broken with the White House on issues in the past and is considered a swing vote, told Maine Public Radio on Tuesday that a potential framework for the coming Senate trial could be drawn from the impeachment trial of former President Clinton in the late 1990s.
But she said that before the trial starts, she believes it isn’t appropriate to declare their intentions to vote to acquit or remove the president, who was impeached by House Democrats in mid-December for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. Trump and a number of Republican lawmakers have denied the allegations.
“It is inappropriate, in my judgment, for senators on either side of the aisle to prejudge the evidence before they have heard what is presented to us, because the each of us will take an oath, an oath that I take very seriously, to render impartial justice,” Collins told Maine Public Radio.
Collins singled out Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is running for president, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who previously said he would work in tandem with the White House during the trial. Warren has said Trump should be impeached.
“I have heard Democrats like Elizabeth Warren saying that the president should be impeached, found guilty and removed from office. I’ve heard the Senate majority leader saying that he’s taking his cues from the White House. There are senators on both sides of the aisle, who, to me, are not giving the appearance of and the reality of judging that’s in an impartial way,” she remarked.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Warren and McConnell’s office.
Her comments come about a week after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told KTUU in Anchorage, Alaska, that she didn’t view McConnell’s strategy as appropriate.
Democrats are reportedly trying to convince Collins, Murkowski, and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to join them in calling for witnesses and documents during the trial. The Senate needs just 51 votes to call up witnesses and view evidence, but it needs a 67-vote supermajority to remove a president.
When she was asked about having White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton testify, Collins said she is “open to witnesses.”
“I think it’s premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the Chief Justice to both sides. What I don’t understand is why the House, having issued subpoenas to Secretary Pompeo, for example, did not seek to enforce those subpoenas in court, and instead rush to get the articles of impeachment passed before Christmas, and yet have not transmitted them to us in the Senate. So that seems an odd way to operate,” she said.