What Changed Susan? In 1999, Collins Used Her First Two Questions to Call for Witnesses But Now “Won’t Definitively Commit” to Hearing Testimony

Collins in 1999: “How Are We to Resolve the Questions… Without Observing the Demeanor of Witnesses?”

In 1999, Senator Susan Collins used her first two questions in the impeachment trial to call for witnesses. But today, Senator Collins refused to make the same demands to hear from first-hand witnesses and instead kicked off the first day of questioning in the Senate by asking about Ukraine. Senator Collins last week voted ten times with Mitch McConnell against allowing key witnesses and evidence, and “still won’t definitively commit” to voting for a fair trial that the “overwhelming majority of Mainers” support.

Here’s how Senator Collins used her position to advocate for witnesses in 1999. Why won’t she do the same this time?


1999: Collins’ first question to House managers: “With all of the conflicting testimony […] how are we to resolve the questions of perjury and obstruction of justice without observing the demeanor of witnesses?” [CNN, 1/23/99]

1999: Collins’ second question to House managers: “Can you think of any reason why we should not call Miss Lewinsky to help clarify such ambiguous testimony?” [CNN, 1/23/99]

Here’s what she’s saying today as she refuses to stand up for the direct witnesses and evidence she once championed:

Senator Collins’ refusal to meet her own standard from 1999 continues to earn scathing reviews from Mainers, who have called Collins out for being “no independent on impeachment” and backing an “upside down process” and a “cover-up” that excludes key witnesses and evidence.

“Senator Collins must answer the same question she asked in the impeachment trial two decades ago: what reason could she possibly have for not calling witnesses and demanding all the facts?” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla. “As the next phase of the impeachment trial begins, Collins is still refusing to break with Mitch McConnell and failing to live up to her own standard for a fair trial.”

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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