In defending her decision to vote to acquit President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial alleging he carried out an abuse of power, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said her vote was based in part on the belief that the president realizes what he did was wrong.
While his conduct didn’t warrant indictment and removal, in her mind, it was clear to her that what Trump had done was inappropriate. Still, Collins suggested that she was confident the president wouldn’t behave in the same way again.
Collins expressed her view in a recent interview shortly after she announced her intention to vote to acquit, CNN reported.
“I believe that the president has learned from this case…I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future,” Collins said.
That doesn’t appear to be the case, however, according to a recent report from the Washington Post, detailing a luncheon Trump was part of that featured television anchors from across the country before the State of the Union address.
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During that event, which was supposed to be off-the-record, sources say that Trump was asked about impeachment, including Collins’s insistence that he had learned a lesson. Instead of showing remorse for what he was accused of doing — using his office and restricting military aid from an allied nation in order to coerce them to investigate a political rival of his — Trump instead implied he didn’t learn any lesson at all, since in his view there wasn’t anything wrong with what he had done.
“It was a perfect call,” Trump said, referencing the conversation he had with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Senate is expected to vote on whether to indict or acquit Trump later on Wednesday. A “guilty” verdict requires 67 votes from that chamber in the affirmative, but experts believe that Trump will evade indictment, with the Republican majority already stating they will not vote to remove him from office.