September 19, 2018
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Susan Collins calls threatening voicemails a ‘new low’

Jose Luis Magana | AP
Jose Luis Magana | AP
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks with Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at her office, before a private meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 21, 2018.
By Mal Leary, Maine Public
Updated:

Maine Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is a key vote in the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. As she continues to weigh her position on whether to support him, Collins is under close scrutiny, and has been subject to a lot of outside pressure — some of which she says have gone too far.

While U.S. senators are always being lobbied hard by colleagues, special interests and constituents, Collins says efforts by groups and individuals who are opposed to Kavanaugh’s nomination have at times crossed the line of common decency. In recordings of voicemails provided by her office, callers spew profanities and threats.

[Collins calls anti-Kavanaugh crowdfunding effort a ‘bribe’]

Collins said one of the many voicemails stands out.

“When I have a caller who tells a young staffer in my office who does case work that he hopes she is raped and impregnated, we have really reached a new low,” she said.

Collins said constituents have every right to try to persuade her how to vote on any issue. She said she has met with both supporters and opponents of Judge Kavanaugh and discussed the nomination. But she said she will not be swayed by threatening phone calls or by a crowdfunding effort that says it has raised more than $1 million for whoever happens to be her opponent two years from now.

[Collins not swayed by email indicating Kavanaugh questioned Roe v. Wade as settled law]

“The people of Maine know me well enough that that’s not ever how I would make a decision, and I am deeply offended by this effort,” she said.

Nor will her decision be affected by that of Maine Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats. Collins insists that she has not decided how she will vote and had more questions for Kavanaugh in the wake of his confirmation hearing.

According to The Associated Press, Collins held an hourlong phone call with Kavanaugh on Friday, her spokeswoman confirmed. Collins had set up the call “to follow up on a few items that came up in the hearing,” she said.

[Angus King says he’ll vote against Trump high court pick Kavanaugh]

In addition to her staff researchers and her own reviews of documents and testimony, Collins said she has assembled a team of 19 lawyers, mostly from the Congressional Research Services.

“I am wrapping up but obviously I am not going to, I have no artificial deadline to adhere to,” she said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is planning to vote on the nomination next week, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants the full Senate to vote soon after.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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