Collins breaks with GOP on attempt to change impeachment rules resolution

Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) became the only GOP senator to break with her party during a marathon session over the rules for the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump.

Democrats forced a 10th amendment vote early Wednesday morning that would extend the amount of time House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team have to respond to motions.

Currently, both sides can file motions around 9 a.m., including a potential motion to dismiss the charges against Trump. Under the rules, the opposing side would have to respond by 11 a.m. The amendment by Democrats would extend that time, giving them until Thursday to respond.

A spokeswoman for Collins didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about why she broke with her party and voted against tabling the amendment.

The early morning vote came after the first nine amendment votes failed, with senators voting along party lines to table the proposals from Democrats, including attempts to subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

But moderate Republicans have been able to flex their muscle in the early days of the trial. With Republicans passing the rules without help from Democrats, that gives any group of two or more senators the ability to try to force changes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) needs 51 votes to pass the rules and Republicans have 53 seats. 

The rules resolution initially only gave both parties two days to make opening arguments and did not automatically admit House evidence into the trial record.

But a group of GOP senators, including Collins, took issue with the provisions during a closed-door lunch. They were subsequently changed to give both sides three days and to have House evidence included in the trial record.

“Senator Collins and others raised concerns about the 24 hours of opening statements in two days and the admission of the House transcript in the record. Her position has been that the trial should follow the Clinton model as much as possible. She thinks these changes are a significant improvement,” Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Collins, said on Tuesday. 

Tags Donald Trump John Bolton Mick Mulvaney Mitch McConnell Susan Collins
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