WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Maine Sen. Susan Collins said she will 'likely' vote to allow new evidence and witnesses in Pres. Trump's impeachment trial, but must first hear opening arguments from both sides.
"I am very likely to vote for additional information, but first, I want to hear, as I did last time, each side present its case," Collins said in an interview with NEWS CENTER Maine Friday.
Often viewed as a moderate Republican, all eyes are on Collins to see if she will vote to remove Trump from office.
She has faced increased scrutiny in the last week for not directly saying if she will allow evidence recently released by House Democrats to be used at trial.
Collins laid out her current stance in a detailed statement Thursday in which she said 'there has been a lot of mischaracterization and misunderstanding.'
"There certainly is a lot of pressure, but I took an oath [Thursday] where I swore to do impartial justice, and I take that oath very seriously," Collins said.
The evidence and materials, shared by now former associate to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, appear to show messages and notes revealing Giuliani's attempts to get Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.
The records include a letter allegedly written by Guiliani requesting a private meeting with Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to discuss looking into Biden.
Pres. Trump has denied ordering Guiliani to do so.
Still, Collins is one of only a handful of GOP lawmakers working to leave the possibility of allowing new witnesses and evidence open.
"I've worked very hard to make sure that in this governing resolution, there is language that provides for a role call vote so that each and every senator will be on the record on the question of whether or not additional information, witnesses, documents are needed," she said.
Collins would not say what her own decision would be, however.
Instead, she cited her role in the 1999 impeachment trial of Pres. Bill Clinton, in which she and then Sen. Olympia Snowe were outspoken in wanting to see additional evidence and hear more witness testimony.
Collins's vote ultimately found Clinton 'not guilty' on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
This time, more than two decades later, Collins has made it clear that the investigation into Pres. Trump may have not been as thorough as it could have been.
This despite the fact the new evidence was just made public this week nearly a month after the House voted to impeach.
"The House seemed to be determined to finish its work very quickly and yet then held onto the articles of impeachment for three weeks before sending them over," Collins said. "Those three weeks could've been used to additional investigation, to hear from more witnesses, and to subpoena more people to testify."
Maine Independent Sen. Angus King has been more direct about wanting witnesses to testify regardless of the House inquiry.
"If you have a trial, you have witnesses," King told reporters Friday. "We have an obligation to try to get at the facts."
NEWS CENTER Maine spoke with NBC's Chuck Todd about the controversy surrounding Collins Friday and how it might influence her re-election campaign.
“I don’t envy her, Todd said. "I certainly think she’s going to be in the spotlight whether she likes it or not,” Todd said.
According to Todd, Collins longtime moderate does not fair well given how divided the country is, adding that the upcoming election in November will be a 'referendum' on Pres. Trump.
“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.
A two-thirds majority, 67 votes, in the Republican-controlled Senate is required to remove Trump from office. That means 20 republicans would have to flip.
The impeachment trial is set to formally start on Tuesday.