Maine’s senators split their votes in the final moments of President Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday, with Republican Sen. Susan Collins voting to acquit Trump and independent Sen. Angus King voting to convict him.

The votes on the two articles of impeachment fell largely along party lines, with Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah the only Republican to break with his party to vote with Democrats on the first article, abuse of power.

Both Collins and King had announced on Tuesday how they planned to vote.

Collins, who had ] been seen as a possible swing vote heading into the trial, said that while the president’s actions were “improper” when he called the Ukrainian president to discuss an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, they did not meet the “very high bar” of impeachment.

King, meanwhile, faulted the president for attempting to influence the outcome of the 2020 election and said Trump would likely act in the same way again.

He also said a decision to acquit in light of Trump’s “blanket obstruction” of witnesses, documents and evidence would undermine the impeachment process and balance of power in the future.

In a statement after the final votes, King lamented that the Senate was not able to bring in new witnesses or documents and said the outcome is “a president now emboldened by a Congress that has voluntarily ceded its oversight role and shown no interest in holding him accountable.”

“Our inaction inflicts serious damage to the checks and balances crafted so carefully by our Founders, and defended so staunchly by the leaders who came before us,” King said. “The people trusted us to follow in those footsteps, and protect this uniquely American inheritance for the next generation. Today, I fear we failed in that mission.”

Collins, through a spokeswoman, declined a request for an interview Wednesday. She did not issue a statement after the vote.

Since announcing her decision on the articles, she has come under criticism for comments she made in an interview with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell in which she said, “I believe the president has learned from this case” and that she believes he will be “much more cautious” in the future.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Trump, asked about Collins’ remarks in an off-the-record luncheon with television anchors before the State of the Union address, responded that his phone call with the Ukrainian president “was a perfect call.”

Gregg Lagerquist, an anchor at WGME in Portland, tweeted Wednesday he spoke with Collins and she said she probably shouldn’t have used the word “believe” and should have instead used the word “hope.”

Collins has been the focus of intense pressure and scrutiny since before the trial began not only because she was seen as a possible swing vote but also because she is facing a re-election campaign in which Democrats nationally have indicated they will be targeting her seat.

Her decision to acquit the president has prompted condemnation from progressive groups. Marie Follayttar, director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, said in a statement Wednesday that “Mainers are united in ensuring that Senator Collins never represents us again as clearly she is incapable and unwilling to take seriously her oath of office and duty as a check on lawless power.”

Earlier in the trial, Collins and Romney were the only Republicans who voted to allow witness testimony and new documents to be admitted, though the motion ultimately failed 49-51.

In comments on the Senate floor Wednesday, Romney said while his decision might not be popular with Trump and his supporters, future generations of Americans “will note that I was among the senators who determined that what the President did was wrong, grievously wrong.”

 

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