With a trial set to begin in the Senate in the coming weeks over President Donald Trump’s impeachment, speculation has swirled over how various senators on both sides of the political aisle will vote on the divisive issue. Now, it looks like one Republican is teeing up to stab Trump in the back.
In an interview with a Maine NBC affiliate known as News Center Maine, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said the allegations against Trump should be taken “very seriously” and called for a “fair” and “thorough” impeachment trial, according to MSN. She went on to slam her colleagues — both Republican and Democrat — who have made prejudgements on the issue.
“We need to take this very seriously,” Collins told reporters.
An impeachment like no other
According to Collins, former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment was “less partisan” than Trump’s current battle to keep the Oval Office.
“For example, the two leaders suggested an approach to begin the trial that was approved unanimously,” Collins told News Center Maine. “It’s hard to imagine that happening with the trial of President Trump.”
Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have taken to talking past each other about the issue — though they really have nothing to talk about just yet, since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) still hasn’t sent the two articles passed by the House to the Senate, despite expressing urgency in the lead-up to the crucial vote in late December.
A partisan trial
But whenever the trial does ensue, Collins hopes it will be “fair” and modeled after Clinton’s. The Maine Republican also expressed openness to hearing from additional witnesses and seeing more evidence before she makes a final decision.
“I think we need to hear the opening arguments from the House managers [and] from the president’s attorneys, ask questions ourselves as we did in the Clinton trial, and vote on whether we need more witnesses and more documents,” she said, according to MSN.
The senator’s comments apparently came in response to indications from McConnell and others that they will support Trump — indications that have come much too early for the Maine Republican.
“Each of us has to take an oath where we swear to render impartial justice,” Collins said, according to News Center Maine. “I don’t see how you can be faithful to that oath if you’ve already prejudged the outcome of the trial as senators, many senators regrettably, on both sides of the aisle have done.”
For her part, Collins says she’s faced pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to pick a side in the impeachment charade, but she has insisted that she will remain open-minded until all the evidence has been heard. In the meantime, we can only guess how she’ll end up voting on Trump’s ouster.
Still, since more than 20 Republicans would need to vote against the president to ensure his removal, it looks like Trump has nothing to worry about — at least for now.