PORTLAND, Maine — Sen. Susan Collins, who has always prided herself as being bi-partisan and fair-minded, has faced criticism ahead of impeachment. She is one of a handful of GOP lawmakers open to allowing witnesses at the impeachment trial of President Trump.
On Friday, NEWS CENTER Maine’s Rob Caldwell spoke with NBC Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd about Sen. Collins and the political risks she faces during the impeachment trial process.
“It’s a risk anybody faces that isn’t in one of the two extremes tribes of both parties—the liberal base and the conservative base,” Todd said.
While Sen. Collins is open to allowing new witnesses, Sen. King is pushing to allow new witnesses to testify.
When asked about witness testimony, Sen. King said "of course" there should be. "If you have a trial, you have witnesses. We have an obligation to try to get at the facts."
Collins is often seen as a swing vote, and liberals nationwide fear she could side with Pres. Trump, like she did when voting in favor of confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Todd poses questions about that Kavanaugh vote, and the leeway it might have given her.
Does her vote for Kavanaugh give her some cover with the President’s base?
Does it allow her to move a little more if she wants to get more distance from the President on this issue?
Does she get more leeway?
Sen. Collins could alienate the Maine Republicans that support Pres. Trump, and at the same time, Todd says, the liberal and independent base of Maine that doesn’t support the president. She needs both groups to win her re-election.
Todd goes on to say, “We’ve all learned in the Trump era that nothing seems to last as long as you think it might—I will not presume impeachment will be in the forefront come October…Ultimately, it’s about how things are done in Washington—do you like this disruption or not? Susan Collins is going to have to pick a side on that."
Whether she will continue to fight for bipartisanship while others assume bipartisanship is dead is a question voters will push her to answer.
A two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate is required to remove Trump from office. That means 20 Republicans would have to flip.
“I don’t envy her…I certainly think she’s going to be in the spotlight whether she likes it or not,” Todd said.