Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) announced on Tuesday she would vote to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment.
“I’m voting to acquit,” Collins told CBS. “I do not believe that the behavior alleged reaches the high bar in the Constitution for overturning an election, and removing a duly elected president.”
However, Collins criticized Trump for his efforts to have Ukraine investigate corruption allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden. The senator also rebuffed Trump’s repeated assertion that his July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump raised the Biden investigations, was a “perfect call.”
“The president’s call was wrong. He should not have mentioned Joe Biden in it, despite his overall concern about corruption in Ukraine,” the senator said. “The President of the United States should not be asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival. That is just improper. It was far from a perfect call.”
Collins on Friday voted in favor of a Senate resolution to call witnesses to testify at the impeachment trial, the only Republican to do so besides Mitt Romney of Utah. Like Romney, Collins is a moderate and was viewed as a possible Republican vote in favor of impeachment.
Collins’s simultaneous criticism of Trump and pledge to acquit the president mirror fellow moderate Lisa Murkowski’s (R., Alaska) argument in favor of acquittal. Murkowski rebuked Trump for his actions but also criticized Democratic and Republican lawmakers for what she viewed as their politicization of the impeachment process.
Democrats would have needed 20 Republican senators to defect and vote in favor of impeachment in order to remove President Trump from office. It is all but impossible for Democrats to win the impeachment vote at this point.