Susan Collins criticizes New York's prosecution of Trump



Sen. Susan Collins (D-Maine), one of the Senate’s most prominent and respected moderate Republicans, came to former President Trump’s defense by criticizing the “pollical underpinnings” of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s decision to prosecute Trump.

Collins was one of seven Senate Republicans to vote to convict Trump on the impeachment charge of inciting insurrection in 2021 and said earlier this year she would not endorse Trump, even if he won the GOP nominee for president.

But Collins argued that Trump’s conviction by a Manhattan jury on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records raises serious concerns.

“It is fundamental to our American system of justice that the government prosecutes cases because of alleged criminal conduct regardless of who the defendant happens to be. In this case the opposite has happened. The district attorney, who campaigned on a promise to prosecute Donald Trump, brought these charges precisely because of who the defendant was rather than because of any specified criminal conduct,” she said in a statement.

“The political underpinnings of this case further blur the lines between the judicial system and the electoral system, and this verdict likely will be the subject of a protracted appeals process,” she warned.

Collins said she didn’t know much about the circumstances of the hush money payments Trump paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels through his lawyer Michael Cohen when she was asked about it in 2018.

“Well, I don’t know the circumstances of it,” she said when asked about Trump’s affair with Daniels during a 2018 CNN interview. “In some ways this sounds like an issue that’s between the president and Mrs. Trump. It doesn’t seem to be a workplace issue as far as I know.”

Collins is one of many Senate Republicans who have a lot riding on the outcome of the 2024 election with Trump atop the GOP ticket.

If Republicans regain the Senate majority, she would be in line to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

The senior senator from Maine is highly respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her thorough study and careful deliberation of weighty issues. She was the pivotal vote in deciding whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after he was accused by Christine Blasey Ford of committing sexual assault decades earlier.

Other members of Maine’s delegation defended the jury’s guilty verdict against Trump.

“Today in New York City an event took place that was historic: a former President found guilty on felony charges – an incredibly consequential decision after weeks of evidence and testimony. However, the event was also a typical day in courthouses across the country —12 men and women, from all walks of life, coming together to do their civic duty. As we face a world of uncertainties and conflict, the infrastructure of our shared American identity remains sturdy so long as we are vigilant in remembering our founding principles, including equal justice under the law,” said independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) in a statement Thursday.

Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) called for colleagues and constituents to have “faith” in what she called an “important exercise in the rule of law.”

“I am grateful for the fortitude and courage of the jurors who spent many long days fulfilling their civic duty. While our country is facing many challenges, now is a moment to have some faith in our democracy and this important exercise of the rule of law,” she said in a statement.



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