Collins questions delay on Lev Parnas documents

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Romney: 'It's very likely I'll be in favor of witnesses' in Trump impeachment trial Schumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger' MORE (R-Maine), a potential swing vote in the Senate impeachment trial, on Wednesday questioned why House Democrats have waited until now to release documents from a key witness claiming that President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE had “knowledge and consent” of efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE.

Senate Democrats have called the new evidence — handwritten notes by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Pompeo lashes out at 'shameful' NPR reporter Trump legal team launches impeachment defense MORE — a significant new revelation.

But Collins on Wednesday did not appear moved by a note on Ritz-Carlton stationery stating Parnas’s chief objective was to ensure “the Biden case will be investigated.”

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The documents were released Tuesday along with other primary evidence by the House Intelligence Committee, which spearheaded the impeachment inquiry.

“I wonder why the House did not put that into the record and it’s only now being revealed,” Collins told reporters when asked if the evidence changes her view on the need to hear from additional witnesses in the forthcoming trial.

When informed that Parnas only turned over the evidence last week, Collins said that mostly serves to show the House impeachment inquiry was rushed.

“Doesn’t that suggest that the House did an incomplete job, then?” she asked, adding that she will consider the question of witnesses at a later date.

“I do think that, as I said, it’s important that we have an up-or-down vote on the issue of subpoenaing witnesses and documents,” she said. 

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Impeachment has been a dud for Democrats Trump insults Democrats, calls on followers to watch Fox News ahead of impeachment trial MORE (D-N.Y.) said earlier Wednesday that the newly released documents "paint a sordid picture" of Giuliani and his associates’ efforts to remove former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchWashington Post: Pompeo 'gaslighting' NPR reporter Pompeo lashes out at 'shameful' NPR reporter Parnas says he has turned over tape of Trump calling for diplomat's firing MORE, who has called for an investigation.

"Just when you think that President Trump and his network couldn't get possibly any more into the muck, reports suggest they are even dirtier than you would have imagined," Schumer said. 

"To allegedly have some cut-rate political operative stalk an American ambassador at the direction of the president's lawyer, potentially with the president's 'knowledge and consent' ...  I mean, how much more can America take in the decline of our morals, our values, our standing in the world?" he added.