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'I do not believe that the House has met its burden'
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has announced that she will vote to acquit President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment put forward by the House of Representatives.
In a Tuesday speech from the Senate floor, Collins — who had previously been seen a possible GOP swing vote on impeachment — discussed both articles and gave her reasons for voting against them.
In regards to the first article — which accuses Trump of abusing his power in asking the Ukrainian government to help look into corruption allegations — Collins said that it was "wrong for him to ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival." However, she said that the House failed to make the case that the president's conduct warrants removing him from office.
"As I concluded in the impeachment trial of President Clinton, I do not believe that the House has met its burden of showing that the president's conduct — however flawed — warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office," Collins said. "Nor does the record support the assertion by the House managers that the president must not remain in office one moment longer."
She then went on to explain her reasoning for voting for acquittal on the House's second article of impeachment, which alleges that Trump obstructed Congress by asserting privilege not cooperating with the House's investigation into the Ukraine matter. Collins argued, as several of her Republican colleagues have, that House investigators should have sought to resolve the inter-branch dispute in court rather than resorting to impeachment.
"At a minimum, the House should have pursued the full extent of its own remedies before bringing impeachment charges, including by seeking the assistance of a neutral third party: The judicial branch," the Maine senator said. "In making these choices, the House substituted its own political preference for speed over finality."
In conclusion, the senator said that "this decision is not about whether you like or dislike this president, or agree with or oppose his policies, or approve or disapprove of his conduct in other circumstances. Rather, it is about whether the charges meet the very high constitutional standards of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
Footage of Collins' floor speech can be viewed on C-Span.
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