Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill’s Morning Report – House prosecutes Trump as ‘lawless,’ ‘corrupt’ Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses MORE (R-Maine) wrote a note to Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday morning, moments before he admonished the House impeachment managers and President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg’s activism: Study economics and then ‘come back’ to us The Hill’s Morning Report – House prosecutes Trump as ‘lawless,’ ‘corrupt’ What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE’s defense team for a fiery exchange between Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler gets under GOP’s skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Republicans take aim at Nadler for saying GOP senators complicit in ‘cover-up’ MORE (D-N.Y.) and White House counsel Pat Cipollone around 1 a.m.
Collins later revealed in an interview with the press that she wrote the note to the justice asking him to make sure that the Senate rules on what she believed were unsettling comments apply to the House Judiciary Committee chairman. The rule would strike the words of a senator, should they impute a colleague.
Nadler accused Republican senators of participating in a “cover-up” after voting against amendments that would have allowed them to bring witnesses to the trial.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — a fellow moderate Republican — told reporters she took offense to the comments.
“As one who is listening attentively and working hard to get to a fair process, I was offended,” Murkowski said.
In an interview with reporters after the Tuesday night hearing on rules, Collins said she was “stunned” by Nadler’s accusation and revealed why she had sent the note to Roberts.
“Well, I was stunned by Congressman Nadler’s approach, and it reminded me that if we were in a normal debate in the Senate that the rule will be invoked to strike the words of the Senator, for imputing another Senator in this case, so I did write a note raising the issue of whether there had been a violation of the rules of the Senate, and I gave that note to Laura Dove, and well shortly thereafter the Chief Justice did admonish both sides and I was glad that he did,” Collins said, according to a transcript an aide provided to The Hill.
It’s unclear if Collins’s note prompted Roberts’s admonishing comments to both parties shortly afterward. The Supreme Court did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill.
Eyes have been on Collins since impeachment proceedings reached the Senate. She and a handful of other moderates are seen as potential swing votes for impeachment, or at least allies in bringing in witnesses like former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonWhat to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Nadler gets under GOP’s skin ‘Emotion’ from Trump’s legal team wins presidential plaudits MORE.
A recent poll released last week showed that Collins dropped 10 points in her approval rating in her home state since the end of September, another sign that the senator is will face a tough reelection this year.