Liberal activists demonstrated at all six of Sen. Susan Collins’ Maine field offices Tuesday to urge the Republican to support the impeachment of President Trump.

The noontime protests were organized by Mainers for Accountable Leadership, in conjunction with other groups, and took place at Collins’ offices in Portland, Biddeford, Augusta, Bangor, Lewiston and Caribou.

In Portland, about 25 protesters held a brief rally downtown, then headed to Collins’ office to submit written comments.

President Trump is the subject of an impeachment inquiry into whether he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in exchange for previously-approved U.S. military aid to Ukraine and a White House visit. Witnesses who testified at hearings over the past two weeks detailed a rogue operation led by Trump to pressure the Ukrainian president. Biden is one of several Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020.

If the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach Trump, an impeachment trial would be held in the Republican-controlled Senate.

In response to questions Tuesday at an event in Holden, Collins said people have every right to protest, but reiterated that she will not comment on the impeachment inquiry.

Protesters organized by Mainers for Accountable Leadership hold signs Tuesday on Western Avenue in Augusta, in front of the Muskie Federal Building, where Sen. Susan Collins has an office. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“What I think is important for me as someone who is likely to receive the articles of impeachment in the Senate is to remain objective, to wait until all the evidence is in, and to wait until the trial occurs, because my role is that I’m a juror and a judge, and just as you wouldn’t want a juror to go into a case pre-judging it, and not being familiar with all the evidence,” Collins said in a transcript provided by her office. “I feel very strongly about that. ”

The moderate Republican refused to endorse Trump in the 2016 election, and she faces what could be a close re-election campaign next year if she decides to run for re-election – which she has yet to announce.

Collins has not indicated whether she supports Trump’s re-election. She disagreed with Trump and most Republicans on whether to scrap the Affordable Care Act in 2017 and was one of three Republican senators who voted to kill the ACA repeal. But Collins has also voted often in support of Trump’s priorities, such as the Republican tax bill and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Those protesting in Portland on Tuesday said they were disappointed in Collins’ approach to the impeachment inquiry.

Yana Davis of Portland takes a photo as she holds up a sign during a protest at the Portland office of Sen. Susan Collins on Tuesday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“I’ve begged Susan Collins to stand up to Trump. I’m still waiting,” said Sue Hawes of Portland.

Jo Trafford, of Portland, said she was motivated to attend the rally because the nation’s system of checks and balances are being trampled by Trump.

“I believe President Trump has broken the law and that he believes he’s above the law,” Trafford said. “We need to call him on it.”

Support for impeachment among the American public is growing, according to www.fivethirtyeight.com, a website that analyzes polling data. An aggregate of national polls show 48.4 percent of Americans support impeachment, 43.9 percent are against, with the rest undecided.

Marie Follayttar, co-director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, said Collins “needs to be listening to her constituents” and that she needs to follow the Constitution to be a check on presidential power.

“It is her job and duty to protect the Constitution,” Follayttar said.

 

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