Susan Collins Says She Is "Open" To Calling Witnesses At Impeachment Trial


Republican Sen. Susan Collins seeks to approach the impeachment trial in the same manner as the 1999 trial of Clinton.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she is “open” to calling witnesses as part of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and has urged her colleagues to use the Clinton impeachment trial as a framework, according to The Hill

“I am open to witnesses. I think it’s premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the Chief Justice to both sides,” Collins replied when asked about calling acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney or former national security adviser John Bolton. 

Collins, in an interview with Maine Public Radio and WCSH, a Maine TV station, said she thought Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) should look to the Clinton trial as an example for their negotiations. 

In the Clinton trial, senators voted 100-0 on a resolution that outlined the rules and process for the proceeding. However, a second resolution that called for closed-door depositions of three witnesses broke along party lines. 

“We then had a vote on whether or not we needed further information, and we decided to depose three witnesses. So they did not testify in person, but they were deposed by both sides, and that was a valuable way to proceed in that trial,” Collins said, calling the agreement in 1999 “fair,” and “thorough.”

Although many of her GOP colleagues, including McConnell, seek a quick impeachment trial with potentially no witnesses from either Trump’s team or the House impeachment managers, she has not previously expressed how she might vote on conviction or acquittal. 

The Democrats are requesting four witnesses as part of the trial, including Mulvaney and Bolton, as well as Ukraine-related documents, and will need to convince four GOP senators to vote out of line in order to call a witness during the trial. 

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