Maine senator calls impeachment 'last resort': 'We may get there, but we’re not there now'

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingSenators fear Syria damage 'irreversible' after Esper, Milley briefing Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Democrats grill Army, Air Force nominees on military funding for border wall MORE (I-Maine) said Sunday that he doesn't support opening an impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE at this point, warning that doing so based on publicly available evidence would be viewed as politically motivated.

King said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that it's possible Trump will face criminal charges at some point over allegations he directed former attorney Michael Cohen to violate campaign finance laws during the 2016 campaign, but disputed that impeachment proceedings would be a proper response. 

"I don’t think that there’s evidence yet available to the public where there would be more or less a consensus that this was an appropriate path," King said. "My concern is that if impeachment is moved forward on the evidence that we have now, at least a third of the country would think it’s just political revenge and a coup against the president."

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"I’m a conservative when it comes to impeachment," the senator added. "I think it’s a last resort and only when the evidence is clear of a really substantial legal violation. And we may get there, but we’re not there now."

King's comments came after a week that saw three separate legal filings related to former Trump associates.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE said in a filing early in the week that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn had cooperated extensively with the investigation into Russian interference, and recommended no jail time.

The special counsel later in the week detailed allegations that former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 Perry says Trump directed him to discuss Ukraine with Giuliani: report Cuomo signs measure allowing New York to press charges despite presidential pardon MORE lied to prosecutors after reaching a plea agreement.

On Friday, prosecutors in Manhattan filed documents that claimed former Trump attorney Michael Cohen violated campaign finance laws at the direction of then-candidate Trump.

Trump has denied wrongdoing.

Democrats have grappled with the question of impeachment for months. Dozens of Democrats previously voted to move forward with impeachment proceedings in the House, though the measure was soundly rejected.

Democratic leaders have largely voiced concerns about moving forward with impeachment, but have vowed to use their newly won majority to investigate the president's finances and ties to Russia