Collins distances herself from McConnell talk of impeachment coordination with Trump

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate Collins says negotiators are 'just about finished' with infrastructure bill MORE (R-Maine), a key vote in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial, is distancing herself from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Manchin 'can't imagine' supporting change to filibuster for voting rights Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE’s (R-Ky.) close coordination with President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE’s legal team.

Collins, who is seen as the Senate Republican most likely to vote for an article of impeachment, made clear to reporters Monday that she is not in close consultation with the White House like McConnell and other Republicans.

Collins has maintained since the launch of the formal House impeachment inquiry that she takes her role as a juror very seriously and has held back from commenting on various developments out of an abundance of caution.

ADVERTISEMENT

She said McConnell’s plan to let Trump’s legal team dictate the Senate GOP’s position on the trial “would not be the approach that I’ve taken.”

“The only people I’ve consulted with thus far are experts from the Congressional Research Service,” she added. “I sat down with them for a session last week.”

The moderate Republican senator made her comments in response to a question about McConnell’s remarks in an interview with Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityMeadows says Trump World looking to 'move forward in a real way' Psaki says Biden admin 'needs' Fox News in order to fight vaccine misinformation Ronny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign MORE. McConnell told Hannity that he is in lockstep with the White House on trial strategy.

“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with the White House counsel,” he said. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can.”

Collins also criticized Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin on reported boos at Democratic luncheon: 'I heard a lot of nos' Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE (D-N.Y.) for writing McConnell a letter on Sunday and then leaking it to the press.

ADVERTISEMENT

Schumer is trying to pressure McConnell into calling four additional witnesses. 

Collins called Schumer’s maneuver “unfortunate.”

“It seems to me unfortunate that Sen. Schumer wrote a letter which he released to the press prior to his sitting down and having the kind of discussion with Sen. McConnell” that Senate leaders had ahead of former President Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, she said.

Collins said, “I’m not going to reach a judgment” on the need for witnesses “until I see what the two leaders come up with for a suggestion.”