President Donald Trump is unable to attack Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) the way he normally lashes out at Republican critics, NBC News White House correspondent Hans Nichols explained on Saturday.
“I thought the president made a big mistake by asking China to get involved in investigating a political opponent,” Collins said, as the Bangor Daily News reported.
“It’s completely inappropriate," the GOP senator added.
With the remarks, Collins joined Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) in having criticized Trump for the solicitations of foreign election interference that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
"On Friday, [Trump] said he thinks he’s going to be impeached," Nichols reported. "He thinks Democrats have the votes."
"At the same time, he’s counting on the Senate not to convict him," he continued. "And he thinks he has Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on his side and he thinks he has about 95% of Republicans. So that may explain why he’s been so harsh in his attacks on Romney today."
"We’ll see, crucially, if he says anything towards Susan Collins. She’s up for re-election in 2020, she’s in-cycle and it that makes it a precarious position for the president to attack Collins," Nichols explained.
The Electoral College may also influence Trump's thinking.
"The president may also need that one electoral vote in Maine. Maine is one of two states where they split some electoral votes based on which congressional district you win. And you talk to the president's advisers, they want to steal a congressional district and win Maine’s second congressional district to make sure they have one more Electoral College vote," Nichols added.