Moveon.org: HAPPENING NOW: WE’RE AT ALL SIX OF SUSAN COLLINS’ OFFICES ACROSS MAINE

download (2)I’m Caleb, an organizer working with MoveOn on impeachment here in Maine (you may have heard from me or my colleague Bonnie last week!).

As I send you this email, right now, Mainers from Caribou to Portland are at all six of Senator Susan Collins’ Maine offices demanding that she uphold her oath of office “to support and defend the Constitution” and that she hold Trump accountable by supporting his impeachment and removal.

Sen. Collins is home this week—so she has no excuses for not meeting with us.

If you weren’t able to join us in person today, can you help by flooding her district offices with calls?

Give her a call at your closest district office: 

  • Senator Susan M. Collins
    • Augusta, ME: 207-622-8414
    • Bangor, ME: 207-945-0417
    • Biddeford, ME: 207-283-1101
    • Caribou, ME: 207-493-7873
    • Lewiston, ME: 207-784-6969
    • Portland, ME: 207-780-3575

You can say something like this: No one is above the law. Please support the impeachment inquiry in the House and vote to convict and remove Trump in the Senate. There is already overwhelming evidence of Trump’s crimes and corruption, and you need to uphold your oath to support and defend the Constitution!

Then, let us know how the call went.

Here’s why it’s so important that we keep up the pressure on Collins today:

Last week, Sen. Collins, along with Mitt Romney and other Republican senators, met with Trump at the White House—in the middle of ongoing impeachment hearings.1

Collins has used the excuse that she’s acting as a “juror” in Trump’s trial in the Senate to justify her silence on Trump’s crimes. But have you ever heard of a juror holding private meetings with a defendant?2

It’s clear that, right now, Collins isn’t planning to be an impartial juror. She’s meeting with Trump behind closed doors but, so far, has refused to meet with her constituents who support impeachment and removal. Let’s change that.

As we show up at Collins’ offices all across the state today, it’d be really helpful if you could pile on by calling in. Click here to get a number and script; then, let us know how the call went.

Thanks for all you do.

–Caleb, Bonnie, Brian, Anne, and the rest of the team and the rest of the team

P.S. Check out MoveOn’s Facebook page to watch and share a livestream of our office visit in Portland!

Senator Susan Collins, Romney join Trump for lunch amid impeachment inquiry

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who has not commented on the House impeachment inquiry, said it did come up at a meeting between Trump and GOP senators Thursday, but the discussion was brief.

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U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and other Republican senators joined President Trump for lunch Thursday to talk about a “wide range of issues” including an ongoing impeachment inquiry.

The meeting is the latest in a series of Thursday lunches the president has called with Republican senators who could decide his fate if the current House inquiry leads to a Senate impeachment trial.

Collins, a Maine Republican who is up for re-election in 2020, has yet to comment publicly on impeachment and has cited her role as a potential “juror” in a Senate trial as grounds for not commenting on the House proceedings.

In an email Thursday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Collins said she made the following comment when asked about impeachment after the lunch: “I’m not going to get into the details of what the President said, but he made a few brief comments at the beginning. He did not ask anything of anyone. There was no procedure discussed.”

Politico reported Thursday that impeachment has been a frequent topic of discussion during recent lunch meetings between Trump and small groups of Republican senators.

Also attending Thursday’s lunch was Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who along with Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only Senate Republicans to not sign a GOP resolution denouncing House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“Today’s lunch was one in a long series of Thursday lunches with Republican senators that have been going on for many weeks in Washington,” Collins said in a statement.

She said discussion at the meeting included a “wide range of issues,” such as legislation to address the high cost of prescription drugs, potential FDA regulations on vaping and e-cigarettes and government funding of bills.

“During the meeting, both (Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa) and I urged the president to support a number of bills we’ve written that would help lower the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs,” Collins said. “I also brought up the unjustified increases in the cost of insulin, which was first isolated nearly a century ago.”

News of Collins’ lunch with the president Thursday drew criticism from Maine Democrats and others who pressed for more details on her thoughts on impeachment.

The Maine Democratic Party in a written statement said Collins should answer questions, including, “Is it appropriate for a juror to dine with a potential defendant prior to a proceeding?”

Mainers for Accountable Leadership, a liberal group pushing for transparent and accountable congressional leadership, also criticized Collins for not talking about the impeachment inquiry.

“Senator Collins says she can’t ‘comment’ to the public about the impeachment inquiry or face constituents like me in a town hall to discuss the president’s quid pro quo, but she will have lunch with the defendant,” said Marie Follayttar, co-director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, in a statement.

“She serves the people, but continues to fall in line with Trump and the party leaders,” Follayttar said.

The impeachment inquiry is in its fifth day of public hearings. It centers on whether Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate the role of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president, withheld foreign aid over the matter and then covered it up.

If the inquiry leads to a House decision to impeach the president, the next step would be a trial in the Senate, where the vote of two-thirds of senators would be needed to remove the president from office.

After Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called for a vote on an impeachment inquiry in September, Collins cited her role as a potential juror as grounds for not commenting on the inquiry.

“The constitutional role of a senator during an impeachment trial includes serving as a juror,” she said at the time. “As such, at this point, it is not appropriate for a senator to comment on the merits of the House inquiry or to prejudge its outcome. Therefore, I will not be commenting on the House proceedings.”

At a memorial service for firefighters last month, however, Collins said it was “completely inappropriate” for a president to encourage a foreign state to investigate a political rival. Those comments came in response to a question about Trump saying China should also investigate Biden and his son.

According to the report in Politico, other senators at Thursday’s lunch, in addition to Collins, Grassley and Romney, were James Lankford of Oklahoma; Rand Paul of Kentucky; John Hoeven of North Dakota; and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Romney, who recently clashed with Trump publicly, resulting in the president calling him a “pompous ass” on Twitter, told The Hill after the lunch that the meeting was “delightful.”

“It was a very delightful meeting with the president and vice president and senior members of his staff and several Republican senators,” Romney said. “We were able to talk about vaping and considered various options, and each of us spoke about our thoughts in that regard.”

Trump may be Maine Sen. Susan Collins’ biggest re-election hurdle

Add in the impeachment inquiry, and the Republican has more to worry about than just her Democratic challengers

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, hands out candy to children outside her office during an Oct. 25 trick-or-treat event hosted by the local chamber of commerce in Lewiston. Associated Press/David Sharp

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, hands out candy to children outside her office during an Oct. 25 trick-or-treat event hosted by the local chamber of commerce in Lewiston.

LEWISTON — Republican Sen. Susan Collins has a well-funded Democrat prepping to challenge her next year. She has national women’s groups ready to attack her over her vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And she’s a moderate facing an electorate that increasingly prioritizes purity.

Still, the four-term Maine senator’s biggest hurdle to re-election may be the president of her own party.

President Trump’s potential impeachment in the House and subsequent trial in the Senate presents a distinct dilemma for Collins. Of the handful of Republicans senators facing re-election next year, she has done perhaps the most to keep a clear distance from Trump. But as Democrats charge ahead toward impeachment, it looks increasingly likely that Collins will be forced to take sides in dramatic fashion. The senator, who has acknowledged she didn’t vote for the president in 2016 and still won’t say whether she will next year, may have to vote for him on the Senate floor.

“Susan Collins is in a terrible position,” said David Farmer, a Democratic operative in Maine. “The position that she’s in where she will likely … take a vote on whether to remove the president from office is going to inflame either the Democratic or the Republican base.”

Collins has kept mum on the House inquiry into whether the president abused his power by trying to get the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter because of her potential role as an impeachment juror.

But she’s already shown a willingness to criticize the president on various issues. She said it was “completely inappropriate” for Trump to ask China to investigate the Bidens. And she said his decision to pull U.S. troops from the border in Syria and leave Kurds open to attack was “terribly unwise.”

Trump often lashes out at those who criticize him, even those in his own party, like Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

But he has not attacked Collins, yet.

Collins’ aides shrug off questions of how presidential politics could factor into her race, and the 66-year-old senator said she’s built her career on an independence valued by Mainers.

“I just have to run, should I decide to run, my own race. And that’s what I’ve always done regardless of who’s on the top of the ticket,” she told The Associated Press.

She has said she plans to formally announce whether she’s seeking re-election later this fall.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has thrown its support behind Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon. The three other Democratic candidates are activist Betsy Sweet, attorney Bre Kidman and a late-comer, former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse.

For her part, Gideon has been touting her progressive credentials in her fundraising, but she’s stopped shy of supporting Medicare for All or the Green New Deal, though she says climate change and universal health care are important to her.

She’s unequivocal on Trump.

She supports the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry – and accuses Collins of failing to stand up to Trump. “In the times that we’ve needed her the most, since (Trump) has become president, she’s not delivering for us,” Gideon told a gathering in Portland.

Gideon raised $1 million more than Collins in the most recent reporting cycle. But Collins has raised far more money – $8.6 million – the largest of any political candidate in Maine history. Pundits suggest upward of $80 million to $100 million could be spent on this race before Election Day 2020.

Democrats see an opportunity as Collins navigates a potentially precarious path in a fractured state where Trump is reviled in liberal, coastal communities and cheered in the conservative, heavily wooded north.

Try as she might, she won’t be able to avoid Trump, who’s expected to campaign in Maine, where he claimed one of the state’s four electoral votes in 2016.

Josh Tardy, a Bangor attorney and former Republican leader in the Maine House, said Mainers expect Collins to demonstrate “due diligence” on her constitutionally imposed obligations when it comes to impeachment.

But he downplayed the impact in her race.

“I think most people view this impeachment as partisan tit for tat. I don’t think that’s (going) to drive the election needle one way or the other,” he said.

In Lewiston, a former mill town on the Androscoggin River, the senator’s challenges were clear even at a recent event hosted by the local chamber of commerce.

Collins appeared at ease as she handed out Halloween candy to children, posed for selfies and chatted with the adults. But some voters were less so.

Hillary Dow said she was “troubled” by a key vote that incensed Democrats – Collins’ support of Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault during the Supreme Court confirmation process. But she said she continues to back Collins because of the bigger picture – her moderate views, her bipartisanship, her track record.

“I appreciate that she’s honest and fair, and she focuses on what really matters. She’s a good person,” she said.

But one man who sought out Collins for a photo later acknowledged he might not vote at all because he’s so frustrated with national politics.

“I’m not sure if I trust anyone anymore, as far as the politicians go,” said restaurant worker Craig Aleo. “It’s a tough world right now.”

Collins conceded it’s a difficult time for a politician who has made a career trying to broker legislative deals.

“The current environment is very disturbing to me. There’s a lack of focus on what we need to do for the American people, and instead the focus is on power struggles over who’s going to control what,” she said.

Collins hails from Caribou, in the conservative 2nd Congressional District that voted for Trump. That’s where her parents served as mayor, and where her family still runs the S.W. Collins hardware store.

Ousting Collins from Maine politics, where her roots run deep, is no small task.

Cynthia Noyes, who describes herself as “liberal in Republican clothing,” fears that her friend from high school is more vulnerable this election cycle. But the Caribou flower shop owner still supports Collins, and she hopes other independent-minded voters will support her as they have in the past.

“Do what’s right and you’ll be OK. Mainers are like that. If they think you’re doing the right thing, then you’ll be OK,” she said.

Maine: Lisa Savage, Green Party candidate to oppose Susan Collins.

download (1).jpgSo most of you know Lisa Savage. We also know that other candidates running for US Senate have TV ads already and tons of money to use. We just have each other and our networks of Maine family and friends and our social media to share this info with. To that end I ask that you share the info I am sharing with you today with family, friends, and your social media. [feel free to write an article for the papers, using her lisaformaine.org web site] I am also including here the video of her campaign rally she did in Congress Square Park: https://www.youtube.com/watch?

We also need as many of you as can to register Green by January first to sign her petition to get her on the ballot. [you can always switch back to what you were registered as after you sign.] And as always if you can volunteer with the campaign on her web site. We are looking for phone bankers right now. I will be sending an e-mail out about a phone banking party here in Portland on Nov.22nd. Lisa is the candidate of the People and it is going to take us all to get her on the ballot.
This is how the state of Maine should be represented, by someone who can take this state from a major weapons making state to a state that makes Green jobs for infrastructure and clean renewable energy and leads the other states out of this weapons making madness that keeps us in these wars for profit killing people around the world and billions of dollars from the American people to do so leaving folks homeless and without medical coverage. Please go to lisaformaine.org and sign on to her campaign.. It is time Maine to lead for the People,Planet and Peace.
Love,
jacqui

Maine’s congressional delegation backs effort to spur passage of Equal Rights Amendment

When the ERA failed to gain enough support by one old 1982 deadline, it seemed dead, but it suddenly has life again and may win approval within months.

In a move that may help enact the long-delayed Equal Rights Amendment, which would put women on equal footing in the U.S. Constitution that serves as the bedrock for the nation’s government, all four of Maine’s federal lawmakers support the extension of a deadline for its approval.

No other state’s congressional delegation offers such unanimous and bipartisan support for the measure.

The ERA, which seemed dead decades ago, suddenly has new life as Democrats in Virginia, who captured control of its legislature in this month’s election, vow to push through the proposal in January.

If they do, it would make Virginia the 38th state to endorse the amendment, enough to meet the three-fourths requirement to change the Constitution.

“The question is no longer if, but when. We will ratify the Equal Rights Amendment!” tweeted U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat who introduced a bill with Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski to try to clear a path for the measure.

It’s not going to be simple, though.

Back in 1972, with U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine Republican, supporting the proposal, Congress approved the ERA and its promise that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Congress set a 1979 deadline for the states to endorse it.

In 1978, with the amendment’s momentum stalled, Congress agreed to give the states three more years to ratify it.

“Ten years is a reasonable time for the ERA,” U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, said at the time. “This is no ordinary constitutional amendment. We are dealing with the rights of over half the people in the country.”

Dismissing Republican argument that the deadline could not be prolonged once set, Bayh declared, “It has been clear in every court decision and in every action of the U.S. Congress that the Congress has the authority to determine what is a reasonable time for ratification of a constitutional amendment.”

Despite Maine’s 1974 backing of the amendment, it fell just shy of the three-fourths of states needed, seemingly leaving the proposal dead in the water. For more than three decades after its failure, debate over the amendment largely ceased.

Supporters kept introducing new versions of the ERA in Congress without success. Then some backers got the idea of reviving the old push rather than promoting a new one.

As a result, in the last couple of years, Nevada and Illinois approved the 1972 version for the first time, with supporters arguing the time limit was merely verbiage by legislators that ought to count for nothing. Virginia’s almost certain approval when its new legislative session begins in January would, if they’re right, make the ERA the law of the land.

Legal observers are divided about the issue, which would almost certainly wind up in the hands of the federal courts to decide.

Meanwhile, though, lawmakers on Capitol Hill who support the ERA are pushing another angle to help make the ERA law. They want to remove the deadline for its passage entirely.

Most of the Democrats in the U.S. House have signed on as cosponsors of the measure — including U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden of Maine — but only a handful of senators have done the same.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican (rape-apologist), and Angus King, a Maine independent (who wants a coin for George H.W. ‘David Cop-a-feel’ Bush), are among the four who have agreed to endorse the Senate’s version of the measure.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a prepared statement that his panel plans Wednesday to take action on the proposal to drop the time limits on ERA passage.

“Congress created this deadline and, it is clear, Congress has every authority to remove it now,” Nadler said. “After decades of work by tireless advocates, it is time for Congress to act and clear the way for Virginia, or any other state, to finally ratify the ERA and for discrimination on the basis of sex to be forever barred by the Constitution.”

The House will likely go along with the decision of Nadler’s panel.

What happens in the Senate is less clear, particularly since Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has been keeping almost every bill from consideration.

Cardin and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, are the Senate bill’s chief sponsors, with King and Collins also on board. Senate Democrat is expected to support the bill as well.

Its passage would require more GOP support, but that might be possible. Collins and Murkowski are longtime ERA supporters and firm opponents of the bill are scarce.

“There should never be a time limit to women’s equality,” Murkowski said last summer, according to Maryland Matters, a news site. “So let’s get that out of the way. Let’s move towards full ratification and let’s finish this unfinished business.”

There are a host of legal issues likely to be raised should Congress opt to drop its old 1982 deadline for the ERA’s passage.

One of them arose when five states that approved the amendment soon after its submittal for ratification — Nebraska, Tennessee Idaho, Kentucky, and South Dakota  — voted again before the 1982 deadline to rescind their approval.

Whether they can do that or not has never been resolved by courts. At the time, the only court case pondering the matter was tossed out as moot once the deadline passed without enough states giving the ERA a thumbs up.

However, Congress itself refused to recognize efforts by two states to rescind their backing of the 14th Amendment after the Civil War, a precedent that may matter.

If it does come down to a court fight, there’s at least one justice on the Supreme Court unlikely to shoot down the ERA.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once told the National Press Club she would like to see the amendment approved.

Legislation, she said, “can be repealed, it can be altered. So I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion — that women and men are persons of equal stature — I’d like them to see that is a basic principle of our society.”

How Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King voted last week

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The House was in recess this week. Along with last week’s roll call votes, the Senate also passed the Supply Chain Counterintelligence Training Act (S. 1388).

There were no key votes in the House this week.

SENATE VOTES

CLAIMS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of David Austin Tapp to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for a 15-year term. Tapp, a circuit court judge in Kentucky since 2005, was previously a criminal defense lawyer and police officer. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said: “As a volunteer drug court judge, Judge Tapp has earned national praise for promoting long-term recovery in the courtroom. He has also developed a sterling reputation for fairness throughout Kentucky and around the country.” The vote, on Nov. 5, was 85 yeas to 8 nays.
YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine

APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Danielle J. Hunsaker to serve as a judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Hunsaker had been a county judge in Oregon since 2017, and before that a law professor and private practice lawyer in Portland from 2008 to 2017. The vote, on Nov. 6, was 73 yeas to 17 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

ARKANSAS JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Lee Philip Rudofsky to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Rudofsky, Arkansas’s solicitor general from 2015 to 2018, has also been a senior lawyer for Walmart and a private practice lawyer in Washington, D.C. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Rudofsky a nominee who believed “in the quaint notion that the job of a judge is to apply our nation’s laws and Constitution as they were actually written, not as they might wish they were written.” An opponent, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Rudofsky “has a long history in Arkansas of working to deny women access to reproductive healthcare.” The vote, on Nov. 7, was 51 yeas to 41 nays.
YEAS: Collins
NAYS: King

PENNSYLVANIA JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Jennifer Philpott Wilson to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Wilson has been a lawyer at her family’s law firm in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, since 2009, and before that a tax trial attorney at the Justice Department from 2005 to 2009. The vote, on Nov. 7, was 88 yeas to 3 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

SECOND APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of William Joseph Nardini to serve as a judge on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Nardini has been on the staff of the U.S. attorney’s office for Connecticut since 2000, and currently heads the office’s criminal division. The vote, on Nov. 7, was 86 yeas to 2 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

Maine Moveon Survey: Who should we support to replace Susan Collins?

MoveOn Member Survey