The Republican lawmaker from Maine explained her decision while on the Senate floor Tuesday, stating she believed POTUS' actions were "wrong," but did not warrant removal from office. Collins acknowledged that it was inappropriate for Trump to mention former Vice President Joe Biden in his July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but was unconvinced that Trump was a threat to national security and the Constitution.
"I do not believe that the House has met its burden of showing that the president's conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office," she said. "Nor does the record support the assertion of the House managers that the president must not remain in office one moment longer."
Collins was considered a possible swing vote in the impeachment trial, along with Republican Sen. Mitt Romney. Collins and Romney broke with Senate Republicans last week when they voted with Democrats to hear from additional witnesses. Republicans successfully blocked the motion.
Collins will expand on her decision to acquit Trump during a televised sit-down with CBS News tonight.
In December, the House voted to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, stemming from the aforementioned phone call with Zelensky. Democratic leaders have accused POTUS of freezing nearly $400 million in Ukrainian military aid as a way to pressure Zelensky to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. This alleged extortion was the basis for the article on abuse of power. The obstruction of Congress charge was due to the Trump administration's refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by Congress.
Senators plan to vote at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday on whether to convict or acquit Trump on the articles of impeachment. The latter verdict is expected.