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

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingGOP senators challenge Trump on shutdown strategy Will Trump declare an emergency tonight? Only he knows for sure Senate in last-minute talks to find deal to avert shutdown  MORE (I-Maine) said Sunday that he doesn't support opening an impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Freedom Caucus calls for Congress to work on shutdown through break Democrat previews Mueller questions for Trump’s AG nominee Trump inaugural committee spent ,000 on makeup for aides: report 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 ManafortPress: What dirt does Putin have on Trump? The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he 'never worked for Russia' | Shutdown enters fourth week | AG pick says public should know Mueller probe findings Dershowitz: Should Mueller report comment on noncriminal conduct? 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