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Collins questions delay on Lev Parnas documents

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Garland's successor to appeals court Bipartisan infrastructure deal takes fire from left and right Outrage grows as Justice seeks to contain subpoena fallout 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 TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations MORE had “knowledge and consent” of efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Rep. Rohrabacher says he took part in Jan. 6 march to Capitol but did not storm building Saudis picked up drugs in Cairo used to kill Khashoggi: report Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting MORE.

Senate Democrats have called the new evidence — handwritten notes by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows - Biden foreign policy in focus Giuliani accuses Biden of 'caving in to Iran' Giuliani endorses Republican Curtis Sliwa for NYC mayor 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 SchumerChuck SchumerIn Congress, what goes on behind closed doors? Senate Judiciary begins investigation into DOJ lawmaker subpoenas America needs a stable Israeli government 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 YovanovitchGiuliani hires attorneys who defended Harvey Weinstein The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden: report 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.