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Collins: Trump ‘angered by impeachment’

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said President Trump is angry after the months-long impeachment fight, leading to a string of bombshells including the removal of two key impeachment witnesses. 

Asked during an interview with the Bangor Daily News if she thought Trump was “emboldened” after Senate Republicans acquitted him of both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Collins indicated she didn’t and that the president “often acts in an impulsive manner.”

 
“I think the president was angered by impeachment and that is reflected in the personnel choices he made,” she said.
 

The Senate voted almost entirely along party lines last week to acquit Trump. Since then, he has removed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his National Security Council post and recalled former Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, both of whom testified as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.

 

He also publicly criticized a seven- to nine-year sentencing recommendation made by federal prosecutors for his associate Roger Stone and pulled the Treasury nomination of Jessie Liu, who worked on the Stone case.

 
Democrats have argued the actions are signs of Trump feeling emboldened after being acquitted by the Senate. 
 
“We are witnessing is a crisis in the rule of law in America unlike one we have ever seen before. It is a crisis of President Trump’s making. But it was enabled and emboldened by every Senate Republican,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said during a floor speech on Wednesday. 
 
Collins told CBS News last week that she believed Trump had learned from the impeachment fight. 

“The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson. I’m voting to acquit because I do not believe that the behavior alleged reaches the high bar in the constitution for overturning an election, and removing a duly elected president,” Collins said.

Pressed on why she thought Trump had learned something, Collins added, “He was impeached. And there has been criticism by both Republican and Democratic senators of his call. I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future.” 

 
Collins later walked that back, telling Fox News on Wednesday after the impeachment votes that her hope that Trump had learned a lesson was “more aspirational on my part.”

“It’s more that I hope that he’s listened to the many voices in the Senate who have pointed out that the call was very problematic,” she said. 

 
Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Collins, reiterated in a string of tweets on Wednesday that Collins’s votes were not based on whether Trump learned a lesson. 

“As she explained in her statement, @SenatorCollins considered the Articles presented and decided that the House did not meet its burden of showing that the President’s conduct – however flawed – warranted the extreme step of immediate removal from office,” Clark tweeted. 

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