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Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

"The president is the president. And I accept that... He was not my choice for the Republican candidate, but I respect the fact that he is the president and I work with him."
— Sen. Susan Collins to Axios' Mike Allen Wednesday

Why it matters:  Collins has had a rough relationship with President Trump, despite being from the same party and representing a "Trump country" state. She said that Trump has grown in office and has changed his position on a few issues, but added, "I don’t think his personality has changed, I still think he tends to react too rapidly."

Highlights:

  • The talking stick: Collins said that the bipartisan group of around 26 Senators she held meetings with during the shutdown, which originally including Girl Scout cookies, Dunkin' Donuts coffee and the infamous talking stick, continues to meet. She said, "to me it’s very encouraging that there is that large a number of Senators who are willing to make government work again and that’s what we really need."
  • The State of the Union Address: "It was a fascinating evening,  I kept thinking that the President’s speech was so eclectic … He covered a lot of territory. You couldn’t pigeon hole the speech. It was neither liberal nor a conservative speech."  
  • Her interactions with Trump: "He tends to be very gracious and tends to listen and will say 'now that sounds reasonable.' Now sometimes, when he talks to his staff he changes his mind over what is reasonable ... I found that he has listened to me on some issues."
  • On #MeToo: Collins praised legislation that she said is on its way to President Trump's desk. She said it sets new requirements for reporting sexual harassment and abuse in amateur sports — inspired by the revelations of U.S. Olympic gymnasts.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."