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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told Maine Public Radio Tuesday that it was "inappropriate" for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to "prejudge the evidence" in President Trump's forthcoming Senate impeachment trial.

What she's saying: "[E]ach of us will take an oath — an oath that I take very seriously to render impartial justice. ... There are senators on both sides of the aisle, who, to me, are not giving the appearance of and the reality of judging that's in an impartial way."

  • McConnell said earlier this month that he is "not an impartial juror" in the trial and branded it a "political process."

Why it matters: Collins is often seen as one of the GOP's most moderate senators, and is among a handful of potential Republican swing voters in the Senate trial.

The big picture: In the interview, she also said that she is "open to witnesses" despite McConnell's insistence against calling them.

  • She hedged on that position by stating that "it's premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the Chief Justice to both sides."
  • She also criticized House Democrats for their handling of witnesses, calling their decision not to attempt to enforce subpoenas in court ahead of the House's impeachment vote "an odd way to operate."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.