Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) made a no-surprise announcement on the Senate floor Tuesday. First, she voted to request that the GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allow both witnesses and evidentiary documents. It was a safe vote. She knew that with just two senators voting to request these, she could pick up all of the feel-goods from her state.
Of course, what became immediately apparent Tuesday was that she underestimated were her voters. They were onto her Peanuts’ Lucy response. She led her Maine voters right up to the safe line, just as she did with the Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh. Then, just as the people started swinging their legs to kick the football, she pulled her vote away from them.
She spoke on the Senate floor:
‘I do not believe that the House has met its burden of showing that the president’s conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office.’
This was the exact moment when she pulled her vote away once again. She said that Trump acted improperly and “demonstrated poor judgment.” Then, she began her great justify move, noting that the evidence was not clear about Donald Trump’s reason for requesting the investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden:
‘It was wrong for President Trump to mention former Vice President Biden on that phone call, and it was wrong for him to ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival.’
The House voted to impeach Trump on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power in his actions toward Ukraine and obstructing Congress’s investigation into those actions.
Collins spoke to the media after she gave her speech, saying that this was a “much easier” call than deciding on the second article of impeachment:
‘On Article Two, I felt the House did not pursue its remedies at all. And the fact that it never even issued a subpoena to John Bolton undercut its argument.’
The Maine senator had this to say about the first article: abuse of power. She claimed:
‘[The Democrats did] not even attempt to assert that the president committed a crime. While I do not believe that conviction of a president requires a criminal act, the high bar for removal from office is perhaps even higher when impeachment is for a difficult-to-define noncriminal act.’
In addition to Collins, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) the write-in vote winner, was considered a good possible swing vote. The moderate Republican made an announcement on Monday that she would not vote against the president.
There were several senators who had not decided whether to go against the president’s request to release him of any wrongdoing. These included: Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
She continued speaking about her decision for her momentous not-guilty plea. Collins claimed she researched the rules of resolution including those for consulting. While the Constitution’s authors wrote about “high crimes and misdemeanors,” she believed “determining where the misconduct” was decided was “fully established.” She said she reread the House transcript and checked with the legal division of the Congressional Research Service:
‘From there it became an issue of deciding whether the misconduct that did occur reached eh very high bar that the founders established. In the end I felt it did not.’
Spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Hellen Kalia counter-argued. She indicated that some of the Democratic requests and arguments:
‘[o]nly broke with Senate Republicans when it was clear they had the votes to block witnesses.’
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has suggested censuring Trump. Once again, Collins demurred, noting that she felt the president had already been punished:
‘I considered censure, and if the House had started with a censure resolution instead of leaping to impeachment … it’s something that I would have looked at. At this point. the fact is the president has been impeached … and both Republican senators such as myself and Democratic senators have criticized his conduct strikes me as a reprimand.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.