Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently expressed concern with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to coordinate with Donald Trump and the White House during the forthcoming impeachment trial, and now she’s not the only GOP senator to do so. Per Newsweek, Maine Sen. Susan Collins voiced similar concerns while speaking with Maine Public Radio on Monday.
“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 each of us will take an oath, an oath that I take very seriously to render impartial justice,” Collins said.
The 67-year-old politician also said that Democrats shouldn’t be jumping the gun on deciding whether Trump is guilty or not ahead of the trial, using Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren as an example of Democrats that have already expressed their belief that Trump should be impeached and removed from office.
“I’ve heard the Senate Majority leaders 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.”
Collins also revealed that she is open to hearing from witnesses — breaking from many House Republicans — and said she was confused by the House’s failure to enforce subpoenas that were issued to people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. She also pointed to the bipartisan approach taken to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton — a trial which Collins says “worked well.”
My hope is that Mr. McConnell realizes the magnitude of the impeachment process. This is not only about the President—this is about preserving the legitimacy of the Senate. pic.twitter.com/c1Xt8iBZps
— Joe Kennedy III (@joekennedy) December 29, 2019
Along with Collins, Murkowski said she was “disturbed” by McConnell’s comments, The Hill reported. While Murkowski has not revealed if she is leaning in any particular direction on impeachment, she claims that McConnell’s prejudgment is “wrong.” Murkowski also said that she does not fear criticism for the decision she will ultimately make, suggesting she would rather take heat from her party than act as a “rubber stamp” for Trump or the GOP.
Outside of Collins and Murkowski, there are reportedly other Republicans that take issue with McConnell’s approach to impeachment. According to Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, “five to 10” of his colleagues have expressed concern with McConnell’s plan to coordinate with the White House. Blumenthal noted that he hopes his Republican colleagues with concerns come forward as Murkowski — and now Collins — has done and blasted McConnell for “sabotaging” the impeachment process.