Susan Collins says she is ‘open to witnesses’ in impeachment trial
But Republicans in recent weeks have favored deciding on witnesses later after the House managers — the lawmakers House Democrats pick to act as prosecutors — and the president present their case.
In the interview, Collins, who is viewed as a possible swing vote in the impeachment trial, also denounced McConnell for saying that he would be in “lockstep with the White House.”
“It is inappropriate, in my judgment, for senators on either side of the aisle to prejudge the evidence before they have heard what is presented to us, because the each of us will take an oath, an oath that I take very seriously to render impartial justice,” Collins said.
“I’ve heard the Senate Majority leader saying that he’s taking his cues from the White House. There are senators on both sides of the aisle, who, to me, are not giving the appearance of and the reality of judging that’s in an impartial way,” she added.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has also recently said she was “disturbed” by McConnell’s statements about coordinating with the White House.
Collins told Maine Public Radio that she has recommended her caucus proceed similarly to the Senate impeachment trial for President Bill Clinton. In 1999, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) reached an agreement about the terms to begin the trial that the Senate unanimously approved.