Update: Susan Collins will vote to acquit Trump on impeachment charges. Read the latest story here.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will announce her position on the removal of President Donald Trump in a Tuesday speech on the Senate floor at 4 p.m. one day ahead of the chamber’s vote on House Democrats’ impeachment charges, according to a spokesperson for the Maine senator.
Collins’ speech can be viewed in the live stream above.
The Republican is perhaps the most-watched senator on the issue because she has yet to say how she will vote in the impeachment proceedings and she is one of national Democrats’ top targets in a 2020 re-election race in a blue-leaning state that is already dominating airwaves with more than $10 million in spending in 2019 alone, according to Advertising Analytics.
Trump is a virtual lock to be acquitted in the Republican-led chamber. The vote is still high-stakes for Collins. Democrats would point to an acquittal vote as an example of the centrist drifting closer to her party, while a vote to convict could anger Maine’s conservative base.
Collins was one of two Republican senators — along with Mitt Romney of Utah — to join Democrats in a Friday vote to allow witnesses in the Trump trial that failed. She has largely declined to discuss House Democrats’ case against the president citing her role as a juror in the trial, though she has intimated their process was rushed.
The Maine senator declined to endorse Trump for president once he became the Republican nominee in 2016 and angered conservatives early in the president’s tenure by opposing two of her party’s bids to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017. Former Gov. Paul LePage, a beloved figure in the Republican grassroots, urged supporters to oppose Collins if she ran for governor.
But she backed Republicans’ landmark tax-cut package later that year, then set off the stiff Democratic challenge by voting for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a 2018 move that won back many of the conservatives who had doubted her, including LePage, who endorsed her this summer, saying she has done “a marvelous job as a legislator.”