Collins: Trump 'incited an insurrection' to prevent transfer of power

Collins: Trump 'incited an insurrection' to prevent transfer of power
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds MORE (Maine) said on Saturday that former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE "incited an insurrection" against the Capitol on Jan. 6, and laid the groundwork for months by claiming the election was stolen from him. 

"That attack was not a spontaneous outbreak of violence. Rather, it was the culmination of a steady stream of provocations by President Trump that were aimed at overturning the results of the presidential election," Collins said from the Senate floor. 

Collins was one of seven GOP senators who voted on Saturday to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection. Though senators fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict the former president, it marked a significant bipartisan rebuke of his actions. 


Collins, during her floor speech, laid out a timeline for how she believed Trump had been priming the political atmosphere for the eventual violent mob by repeating false claims of widespread voter fraud. 

“The President’s unprecedented efforts to discredit the election results did not begin on January 6. Rather, he planted the seeds of doubt many weeks before votes were cast on November 3. He repeatedly told his supporters that only a ‘rigged election’ could cause him to lose," Collins said. 

Collins also pointed to Trump's actions in the immediate aftermath of the election where he tweeted that it was "stolen," saying it showed that his "post-election campaign to change the outcome began."  

Collins also pointed to a stunning call that Trump had with Georgia officials, where he urged them to "find" nearly 12,000 votes, as well as efforts to get then-Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceGOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report Oddsmakers say Harris, not Biden, most likely to win 2024 nomination, election MORE to throw out the Electoral College results on January 6. 

“In this situation, context was everything. Tossing a lit match into a pile of dry leaves is very different from tossing it into a pool of water. And on January 6, the atmosphere among the crowd outside the White House was highly combustible, largely the result of an ill wind blowing from Washington for the past two months," she added. 


“That set the stage for the storming of the Capitol for the first time in more than 200 years," she added. 

Collins, who won reelection last year, is part of a dwindling group of Senate moderates and was viewed as a crucial swing vote in the impeachment proceeding. 

As part of an hours-long question-and-answer session on Friday she, Sen. Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska), Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure For a win on climate, let's put our best player in the game Personal security costs for anti-Trump lawmakers spiked post-riot MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyCalls grow for national paid family leave amid pandemic Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats Vivek Murthy confirmed as surgeon general MORE (R-La.) asked questions about when Trump became aware the Capitol was breached and what steps he took next. 

“Instead of preventing a dangerous situation, President Trump created one.  And rather than defend the constitutional transfer of power, he incited an insurrection with the purpose of preventing that transfer of power from occurring," Collins said.

She added that Trump by "subordinating the interests of the country to his own selfish interests bears significant responsibility for the invasion of the Capitol."