Before the holiday break, the House officially voted to make Mr. Trump the third president in history to ever be impeached. Now, the president awaits a trial in the Senate where he has an allied majority and it is highly doubtful he will be removed from office.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke out about the impending trial, saying that a decision on witnesses should be made after opening arguments are made by both House impeachment managers and Trump’s team.
Collins suggested using former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment as a model for how the trial should happen. She said:
‘I think that the model and the precedent established by the trial for President Clinton is one that our leaders should take a hard look at. What happened back then is Senator Trent Lott on the Republican side, Senator Tom Daschle on the Democratic side, negotiated the terms to begin the trial. And those terms were adopted unanimously by the Senate, 100 to zero. I can’t imagine anything like that happening today, regrettably. They decided that we would start with the opening arguments from both sides. And then we proceeded to a period where senators questioned the two sides through the Chief Justice. I remember submitting the only bipartisan question with Senator Russ Feingold at the time. And those questions, of which there were more than 100, elicited a lot of information that was very useful. So I hope we do that approach this time as well.’
She went on to say:
‘Then we move to what I call the third stage. At that point, we debated whether or not we wanted to hear from witnesses and get additional documents. And there was a roll call vote, with Republicans wanting witnesses at that point. And Democrats, with few exceptions, not wanting witnesses, so we have a reverse of the current situation. And we decided to call just three witnesses and to have them deposed, rather than testifying live.’
When asked her opinion about calling White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney or former national security adviser John Bolton to testify, she said:
‘I am 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 pump pail 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.’
Collins also told Maine Public Radio:
‘I have made that recommendation. I have spoken in our caucus, but since I’m one of the few members of the caucus who participated in the 1999 trial, I went back and gathered all the documents. I read the procedure, I went through all of the roll call votes. Fact I have a very thick notebook that I’ve compiled with what we did last time, what’s going on with the House, with the transcriptions of those witnesses who were deposed in the House or testified publicly. I have shared with my colleagues my belief that the Clinton approach, the approach to the Clinton trial worked well.’
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube