Susan Collins Says She’s Discussing Plan for Trial Witnesses With GOP

(Bloomberg) -- Republican Senator Susan Collins said Friday she’s talking to a group of Senate Republicans about a plan that would allow new witnesses as part of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

“I have had many discussions with some of my Republican colleagues on how we can adhere as closely as practical to the precedent for conducting the impeachment trial of President Clinton, which included as a third stage the decision on whether to call witnesses,” Collins said. “I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for witnesses for both the House managers and the President’s counsel if they choose to do so.”

The statement from the Maine senator signals that the impeachment trial won’t end swiftly and could instead linger for weeks, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has effectively guaranteed Trump won’t be convicted and removed from office.

Collins didn’t specify whether she would be willing to subpoena key witnesses sought by top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton or Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Nor did she say whether she would support calling witnesses that Trump and his allies have said they’d like to see, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and the whistle-blower.

Collins this week backed McConnell’s plan to use the Clinton-era process, which delays a decision on witnesses until later in the trial.

Collins said it is “important that both sides be treated fairly.”

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