What Changed Susan? Collins’ Refusal to Meet Her Own 1999 Standard on Witnesses Shows She Is “No Independent”

“In an Alternative Universe Where Collins Was Independent, Initially She Would Have Vigorously Backed the Efforts to Receive Witnesses and Documents,” But Instead She Voted With Mitch McConnell Ten Times Against Witnesses & Evidence

Senator Susan Collins is again in the spotlight for refusing to commit to hearing from witnesses and evidence. Senator Collins voted with Mitch McConnell ten times against witnesses and evidence last week, and is still refusing to demand testimony from John Bolton and other key witnesses — despite calling forcefully for more witnesses and evidence two decades ago. Senator Collins’ “worse-than-weak-tea” refusal to back a fair trial that the “overwhelming majority of Mainers” support is the latest sign that she is “no independent” and more concerned with “seeking political cover” than doing what is right.

The latest scathing coverage of Senator Collins’ failure to meet her own standard comes on the heels of a Portland Press Herald editorial last week urging Collins to “demand to see all the evidence,” and a column from Press Herald Editorial Editor Greg Kesich over the weekend holding her accountable for backing an “upside down process” and a “cover-up” that excludes key witnesses and evidence.


Brennan Center for Justice’s Caroline Fredrickson: “I think we should expect more from Susan Collins. She’s always claimed to stand up for her people of Maine, and for our Constitution, and be a right-thinking, right-doing Senator, and this is, it’s worse than weak tea — it’s not even water!”

Bangor Daily News (Opinion): Collins is no independent on impeachment

By Amy Fried

January 28, 2020

Key Points:

  • …the impeachment trial of Donald Trump started with senatorial obstruction, when all Republicans, including Collins, voted against Democratic proposals to change the ground rules of the Senate trial, which were written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to hear from witnesses and to get more documents.
  • In an alternative universe where Collins was independent, initially she would have vigorously backed the efforts to receive witnesses and documents blocked by the White House. 
  • In contrast, as Politico reported, Sen. Charles Schumer’s “unceasing demand to hear from key administration witnesses and subpoena administration documents appears to have annoyed Collins,” and Collins pointed to Democrats launching a website and ads against her re-election. Those responses seem peevish. 
  • For one, by putting off a decision about whether witnesses and evidence would ever be presented at the Senate trial, Collins normalized Trump’s blocking information from Congress and the public. 
  • Third, Collins’ contention that she supports the same rules used in the Bill Clinton impeachment is absurd. For one, the Senate isn’t using the same rules. For another, the Clinton impeachment came after the Starr Report, which relied on many witness interviews and documents.
  • Indeed, Collins will be asked those questions and a later vote for witnesses would look like she’s seeking political cover, particularly if the vote fails. 

Read the full column here.

The DSCC launched WhatChangedSusan.com to highlight Senator Collins’ alignment with Mitch McConnell and refusal to set the same standards for a fair impeachment process that she did in 1999. WhatChangedSusan.com will be updated regularly as the impeachment process unfolds.


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