Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed anger at members of the press on Wednesday for linking her vote to acquit President Donald Trump to his continued subversion of the Justice Department.
Collins’ remarks came after Trump was accused of pressing Attorney General William Barr and the DOJ to reduce the sentencing recommendations for longtime friend Roger Stone, who was found guilty of witness tampering in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Collins is on record defending her acquittal vote with the argument that the president had learned his lesson. But on Wednesday, she insisted that her vote could not predict Trump’s future actions.
Watch the video and read the reports below.
catch that chyron: “GOP Sen. Collins Won’t Say If Trump Learned Any Lessons After Acquittal.”
— Lauren Passalacqua (@laurenvpass) February 12, 2020
Senator Susan Collins says “the President should not have gotten involved” in the Roger Stone sentencing, but objects to reporters tying Trump’s later actions to her impeachment acquittal vote. She says that vote was solely based on House managers not making the impeachment case.
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) February 12, 2020
Susan Collins just now on Roger Stone case: “The president should not have gotten involved”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 12, 2020
.@SenatorCollins vents a little at reporters – in a Susan Collins-ish way – saying her vote against impeaching Trump “wasn’t based on predicting his future behavior.”
— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) February 12, 2020
‘That’s how authoritarian countries work’: CNN’s Toobin warns Trump is acting like a dictator
On CNN Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin broke down the significance of President Donald Trump's decision to pardon several high-powered friends accused of political corruption and tax crimes.
"There is no doubt, under the Constitution, the president has the power to do this," said Toobin. "This is not legally a — an open question. And there is a history of controversial pardons, whether it's President Clinton pardoning Marc Rich, a fugitive financier, or George Herbert Walker Bush pardoning the Iran-Contra people on his way out of the office."
"So what makes this so troubling is in the middle of his term, here he is assigning friends, basically friends and friends of friends, to get pardons and clemency, which is how authoritarians behave, which is playing favorites with your personal friends at a time when you are playing with the opposite of favorites with prosecutorial decisions," said Toobin. "I want these people prosecuted, these people freed — that's how authoritarian countries work. Countries where there is the rule of law, there are systems in place for who gets prosecuted, who gets clemency. This is a very individually-focused way to run a presidency."
GOP’s portrayal of Trump as a corruption fighter torn to shreds as ‘complete nonsense’
Republicans who defended President Donald Trump during impeachment hearings insisted that he wasn't trying to shake down the Ukrainian government to investigate his political foes, but was instead sincerely concerned about fighting corruption abroad.
CNN's John Avlon, however, argued on Wednesday that Trump showed these claims were "complete nonsense" after he unleashed a slew of pardons and commutations for corrupt former public officials, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who both were sent to prison after being found guilty of abusing their offices for personal gain.
Pete Buttigieg answers those who question his family values: ‘I’ve never had to pay off a porn star’
Mayor Pete Buttigieg appeared on CNN Tuesday for a town hall in Nevada where he was asked about his sexual orientation. Thus far, Buttigieg is the first openly gay presidential candidate being taken seriously by both the media and the electorate.
He was asked by a voter how he would deal with the flood of personal attacks on his sexual orientation and his family.
He explained that it would happen and he was ready for it. Speaking about his coming-out story, Buttigieg said that he wasn't sure what impact it would have on his career but that he didn't want to not have a personal life anymore after he got out of the military.