February 15, 2020
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What Maine’s congressional delegation and their 2020 opponents think about Trump impeachment

Composite photo | BDN
Composite photo | BDN
Rep. Jared Golden (clockwise from upper right), Rep. Chellie Pingree, Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote as soon as Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump, with only one member of Maine’s congressional delegation having revealed their stance on the issue as of Monday.

The spotlight is on U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from the 2nd District. They are the most vulnerable members of the delegation in the 2020 election, and Golden will have to make a high-pressure decision before the vote this week after sticking with fellow House Democrats to move the inquiry forward in October. 

The two articles he will consider are related to Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian leader in which the Republican leader mentioned U.S. aid to the European nation alongside his desire for it to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to face the president in 2020.

The Bangor Daily News collected public statements on impeachment from the four members of the state’s congressional delegation and the 12 candidates running against them. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

U.S. senators

Susan Collins (R-Bangor, up for re-election in 2020)

Stance: Officially neutral on proceedings, citing her role as a juror in the Senate trial.

The context: Collins was one of four Republicans to vote against removing then-President Bill Clinton in 1999, saying such removal was “an extraordinary action” reserved only for situations in which a president “so injures the fabric of democracy” that there is no other option. She has largely declined comment on the proceedings so far and the format of the potential Senate trial, other than taking a dim view of conservatives’ desire to call certain witnesses in an interview with Politico earlier this month. In a Friday statement, she said she had met with experts from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service “to discuss precedents, procedure and the constitutional standard for impeachment.”

Key quote: “My primary roles as a Senator in an impeachment trial would be as a judge and juror, and it appears almost certain that we will have a trial in the Senate,” she said in a Friday statement. “Therefore I have refrained from commenting on the House’s proceedings or prejudging the evidence that may be presented to the Senate.”

Angus King (I-Brunswick, term ends in 2024)

Stance: Backed the inquiry and is critical of Trump, but hasn’t committed to a vote on removal.

The context: King, who is probably in his last term as a senator, has previously identified himself as a “conservative” on impeachment. He hasn’t said yet whether he thinks the president should be impeached or removed, but he’s been outspoken about his support for the inquiry, saying in October “we need to follow the facts” on the investigation and that evidence existed of a “pretty explicit quid pro quo, in fact several.” He criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, this weekend for saying he was “taking cues” from Trump’s lawyers on the impeachment trial, saying senators must take an oath to “do impartial justice” during impeachment trials. 

Key quote: “The American people need to see impartial justice,” he said in a Saturday tweet. “History will record that this is not only a trial in the Senate — it is a trial of the Senate.”

U.S. representatives

Chellie Pingree (D-North Haven, 1st District)

Stance: Will vote to impeach.

The context: Pingree, who represents a reliably liberal district in southern Maine, committed to voting for both impeachment articles in a Friday statement to The Associated Press. That wasn’t surprising, since she has telegraphed that stance for months. Pingree told told Maine Public in October that she would likely vote to impeach and was one of 95 House Democrats who voted in July against tabling an impeachment order.

Key quote: “I did not come to Congress to impeach a President but there is a mountain of evidence that Donald Trump used his office to solicit the interference of a foreign government in the 2020 election,” she said in a Friday statement.

Jared Golden (D-Lewiston, 2nd District)

Stance: Will vote to impeach on one article but not the other.

The context: The freshman congressman from a district that Trump won easily in 2016 likely has the most riding on his impeachment vote relative to the rest of Maine’s delegation. On Tuesday, Golden became the only member of Congress so far to back one article of impeachment and not the other. In a statement, he said Trump “clearly” used the power of the presidency to damage a political opponent, saying it crossed a “red line,” but that House Democrats didn’t reached the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” on the obstruction charge. He voted in October to advance the process and has defended the inquiry as three of his four Republican opponents have attacked him on the vote. 

Key quote: “I’m going to be doing a lot of thinking and listening in the days ahead to see what is best for the country,” he told Maine Public last week.

2020 Senate candidates

Sara Gideon (D-Freeport)

Stance: Hasn’t explicitly supported the inquiry or committed to a stance on removal.

Key quote: “No one is above the law, and the Congressional hearings so far have shown that an abuse of power seems to have occurred,” she said in a Friday statement. “We must continue to let the process laid out by the Constitution progress fairly, and if the articles of impeachment are moved to the Senate, I think what all Mainers expect is for our elected officials — no matter their party — to put politics aside and look at the facts.”

Bre Kidman (D-Saco) 

Stance: Would lean toward voting to remove Trump, but hasn’t committed.

Key quote: “I would be inclined towards conviction based on evidence already presented, but would need to consider all the evidence presented at trial before committing to a vote,” Kidman said in a Friday text message.

Ross LaJeunesse (D-Biddeford)

Stance: Supports inquiry and sees sufficient evidence to back impeachment charges, but believes it is inappropriate to discuss conviction.

Key quote: “I strongly support the impeachment inquiry — no one is above the law in this country, certainly not the president,” he said in a Friday statement. “I believe we’ve seen sufficient evidence to support the charges that President Trump has abused his power and obstructed the impeachment investigation. However, I don’t believe it’s appropriate to discuss a potential conviction before the trial takes place.”

Lisa Savage (G-Solon)

Stance: Concerned Trump has abused power, but says current articles of impeachment do not “truly” rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Key Quote: “Neither censure nor removal from office will fix the serious threats affecting our democracy, which are pervasive and fundamentally related to the corruption of our political system. …Unless we elect candidates who put people, planet, and peace over profit, we will only get more of the same,” she said in a Monday statement.

Betsy Sweet (D-Hallowell)

Stance: Supports removal.

Key quote: “To put it plainly, this President is a criminal,” Sweet said in a Dec. 5 fundraising email. “He has obstructed justice and initiated a quid pro quo deal to further his own political ambitions.”

Danielle VanHelsing (I-Sangerville)

Stance: Would vote to remove based on current evidence.

Key quote: “The position of president is not one of privacy or resistant to inquiry and no amount of angry tweeting negates evidence,” she said in a Saturday email. “As a senator, based on what I’ve seen to date, I would absolutely vote to convict.”

2020 House candidates

Jay Allen (R-Waldoboro, 1st District)

Stance: Opposed.

Key quote: “I hope that the full House will rise above partisan politics and will be faithful to the sacred obligation that the American people have entrusted to them and that the full House will vote against these articles of impeachment,” he said in a Saturday statement.

Adrienne Bennett (R-Bangor, 2nd District)

Stance: Opposed.

Key quote: “They [Democrats] say President Trump has abused power. It’s the opposite. They have abused power, and they are the obstructionists,” she said during a Dec. 11 rally in Lewiston.

Eric Brakey (R-Auburn, 2nd District)

Stance: Opposed.

Key quote: “This partisan impeachment — seeking to remove a President investigating government corruption — is a new low for America,” he said in a Monday Facebook post. “This is more than an attack on President Trump; it is an attack on the American people who elected him and an attempt to nullify our vote.”

Dale Crafts (R-Lisbon Falls, 2nd District)

Stance: Opposed.

Key quote: “In [Democrats’] view, you are guilty until proven innocent, or innocent until proven Republican,” he said in a Dec. 5 tweet thread. “The liberals’ focus on the impeachment of President Trump and neglect their work that our elected officials … are expected to do is the real crime.”

John Hiatt (R-Bangor, 2nd District)

Did not respond.


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