Maine Sen. Susan Collins said she wrote a note objecting to the lack of decorum during impeachment proceedings on the Senate floor just before Chief Justice John Roberts admonished the legal teams.

In several interviews with reporters in Washington, D.C., Collins said she wrote a note after she became concerned about the tone of the dialogue between House impeachment managers and President Trump’s legal team in the early morning hours on Wednesday. Her note made its way from a senior Senate aide to the Senate parliamentarian, who Collins said discussed it with Roberts as he was presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

“And then a few minutes later, the chief justice admonished both parties to maintain the appropriate decorum, and I was glad that he did,” Collins said in an interview in Washington with NewsCenter Maine.

Tensions rose in the Senate chamber late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning as House Democrats’ impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers traded accusations and insinuations during a marathon first day of Trump’s trial.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York had accused Republican senators of “voting for a cover-up” by tabling Senate Democrats’ attempts to call additional witnesses or seek more documentation. One of Trump’s attorneys, Pat Cipollone, responded by accusing Nadler of making false allegations against senators and the president, saying the Democrat should be embarrassed for his behavior.

Roberts then urged the two legal teams to remember where they were.


“I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing ‘the world’s greatest deliberative body,'” Roberts told the two teams just before 1 a.m. on Wednesday. “One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.”

Video of the proceedings do not show activities on the Senate floor other than the speakers, so it was not possible to see the chain of events just before Roberts reprimanded the legal teams.

Collins is among a small group of Republican senators who are under intense scrutiny because they have signaled a willingness to consider voting to call additional witnesses or hear additional testimony beyond what the House impeachment managers are presenting. Democrats need to pick up at least four Republican votes to make that happen, and organizations are targeting Collins and the other senators with pressure campaigns prior to those votes, likely next week.

The Maine Republican also is facing what is expected to be the toughest reelection battle of her decades-long career as Democrats attempt to flip the seat by linking Collins to Trump and the Senate’s Republican leadership.

In an interview with Politico, Collins said she was “stunned” by Nadler’s suggestion of a “cover-up” but said it wouldn’t affect her votes. Collins said that she had had filled more than two dozen pages with notes and questions from the trial so far.

“I already have a list of questions in the margin of the extensive notepad that I’ve been filling up every day of questions that I’d like to know the answers to,” Collins told Politico. “Now, maybe they’ll all be answered. But I would doubt that.”

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