Dec 31, 2019

Collins says it's "inappropriate" for McConnell, Warren to "prejudge" impeachment trial

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."

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Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.