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

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget Shanahan grilled on Pentagon's border wall funding Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (I-Maine) said Sunday that he doesn't support opening an impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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 ManafortHill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides New York prosecutors throw out Constitution to charge Manafort Another prosecutor leaves Mueller investigation in latest sign probe may be winding down 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