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Sen. Susan Collins Will Vote to Acquit Trump in Impeachment Trial

The moderate Republican had voted with Democrats in favor of hearing new witnesses but will join colleagues in her party in voting against removing Donald Trump from office

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday she will vote to acquit President Donald Trump, despite believing his behavior was "flawed."

The moderate Maine Republican, a key vote in the impeachment proceedings, previously sided with Senate Democrats in favor of hearing from additional witnesses like former National Security Advisor John Bolton. But four days after that measure failed, leaving Trump all but certain to remain in office. Collins announced her intention to reject his removal.

"I do not believe that the House has met its burden that the president's conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office," she said Tuesday.

The Republican senator also noted that she had voted against removing former Democratic President Bill Clinton when he was impeached.

The Senate will vote on whether to convict or acquit Trump on Wednesday, with a two-thirds majority necessary to remove the president. The House submitted articles of impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is under intense pressure as a key vote in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

"This decision is not about whether you like or dislike this president, or agree with or oppose his policies, or approve or disapprove of his conduct in other circumstances," Collins said. "Rather, it is about whether the charges meet the very high constitutional standards of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

While she declined to vote against him, Collins made clear she did not approve of the president's actions regarding Ukraine.

"Regardless, it was wrong for President Trump to mention former Vice President [Joe] Biden on that phone call, and it was wrong for him to ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival," she said.

Collins, the only Republican member of Congress in New England, is finishing her fourth term in the Senate. The moderate is seen as particularly vulnerable to losing in the 2020 election. Her state is balanced between the two parties, and Democrats have been pushing to oust her since she voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

A day before the Senate is expected to acquit President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., lashed out at House Democrats for presenting a “constitutionally incoherent” case for impeachment. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also weighed in, accusing the Republican leader and his GOP colleagues of sweeping Trump’s misconduct under the rug.
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