Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, opened a new office in Biddeford on Friday. He talked about the judiciary committee’s vote that day in favor of impeachment of President Donald Trump, and the likely impeachment vote in the House, followed by a trial in the Senate. Here, King chats with Wells Town Manager Jon Carter as Rob Tillotson, owner of the Biddeford firm Oak Point Associates, looks on. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, talked about the expected upcoming January Senate trial of President Donald J. Trump and the inclusion of a provision for family leave for all federal government personnel in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act as he opened his new office on Biddeford’s Main Street on Dec. 13. The NDAA act was to have been voted on Tuesday.

The office, at 227 Main St., is the same location his staff occupied about 5 ½ years ago, before moving to consolidated space in Scarborough. Now, King is back in town, and he said the office, which is staffed by three to four people daily, means people can more easily get in touch.

“When it came time to look for a new office in southern Maine, the old adage stuck in my mind: location, location, location,” said King. “This office is located on the heart of Biddeford’s Main Street, meaning we’re more visible and more accessible to Maine people.”

Constituent services available include navigating issues with federal agencies, listening to concerns regarding government policies and programs, and providing updates on Senator King’s positions and work in the U.S. Senate.

He said in all, he receives between 3,500 and 4,000 emails and calls from Maine constituents weekly.

As well as Biddeford, King has offices in Augusta, Bangor, and Presque Isle, and is evaluating options to add at least one more office in the near future, he said.

King’s office opening came minutes after the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary voted along party lines in favor of two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — and before the full House of Representatives was to vote on the articles earlier this week. Just exactly when the impeachment vote was to take place during the week was unclear during King’s office visit, but if the vote were affirmative, the next step is a trial in the Senate.

“The Senate will be busy in January,” King told those attending the office opening. King said at that juncture, it was unclear what the process would be for a trial. He said he’d been told both sides of the argument will be heard, followed by a vote.

“My problem with that is I’ve never heard of a trial with no witnesses,” he said. “I feel like I’d like to hear from (Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick) Mulvaney and (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo. They had direct knowledge.”

The situation “is a very grave matter, no matter what your point of view,” King said.

He said he was told by a colleague who was in office in 1998 when former President Bill Clinton faced a trial in the Senate after being impeached by the House (Clinton was acquitted), that senators are required to take an oath to be impartial at the beginning of the trial.

“I am told that is a very impactful moment,” the senator said. “I hope it will be taken most seriously.”

King recalled that he has maintained that impeachment could inflame and divide the country and might enhance the president’s standing with the public, but said the Ukraine situation couldn’t be ignored.

“So you’ve got to do what you think is right,” said King. “I want to hear the evidence.”

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