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

Sara Gideon, the Maine House speaker who is running to challenge Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Shaheen, Chabot call for action on new round of PPP loans MORE (R-Maine) in November, said she would have voted to convict President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled 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 McConnellGOP scrambles to fend off Kobach in Kansas primary Meadows: Election will be held on November third Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency 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 RomneyStimulus checks debate now focuses on size, eligibility CNN chyron says 'nah' to Trump claim about Russia Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock 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 KavanaughDavis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report Buy the dip: Bet on Trump MORE and supporting Trump’s tax plan.

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