Susan Collins challenger: 'I would vote to remove' Trump

Sara Gideon, the Maine House speaker who is running to challenge Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Real relief from high gas prices The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron MORE (R-Maine) in November, said she would have voted to convict President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE in the Senate’s impeachment trial and slammed Collins for saying she would vote for acquittal. 

Gideon said she believed Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and that Collins was “complicit” in letting him off the hook.

“Based on the information included as part of the impeachment trial, I believe an abuse of power occurred and I would vote to remove the President,” Gideon said in a statement.

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“[Collins’s] decision to acquit despite the case against the President and without hearing more of the facts again reveals her commitment to standing with [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Senate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE and Donald Trump,” she added. “This was not the process that Mainers and Americans deserved, and Senator Collins was complicit in letting that happen.” 

Gideon also slammed Senate Republicans for voting down a Democratic measure to allow further witness testimony in the chamber’s impeachment trial.

Democrats had clamored to hear from current and former administration members after new evidence arose following the December House vote to impeach Trump on two articles. 

“Like a lot of Mainers, I believe we needed to hear from relevant witnesses and to consider all evidence as part of this process,” said Gideon. “I also believe that if President Trump was so confident in his innocence then both he and Republicans in the Senate would have gladly allowed that testimony to occur.”

Collins and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyUS expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics soon: report GOP anger with Fauci rises No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline MORE (R-Utah) were the only two Republicans to vote with Democrats to support testimony from new witnesses.

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The statement comes after Collins, widely regarded as a key swing vote, announced on the Senate floor Tuesday that she would vote to acquit Trump this week.

“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 from the Senate floor before adding that his dealings with Ukraine were “improper” and “demonstrated very poor judgment.” 

The House voted in December largely along party lines to impeach Trump for abuse of power over his pressure campaign on Kyiv and obstruction of Congress for working to hinder House probes into his actions toward Ukraine. 

Democrats are likely to highlight impeachment in the race against Collins as they work to underscore her votes confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP Sen. Braun says abortion laws should be left up to states Neil Gorsuch's terrifying paragraph GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE and supporting Trump’s tax plan.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the Maine Senate race as a “toss up.”