Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said Donald Trump learned his lesson from impeachment, but Trump said he only learned that 'Democrats are crooked.'
Donald Trump admitted on Wednesday that he didn't learn any lessons from being impeached by the House of Representatives, contradicting a reason Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) cited for voting to acquit him of all wrongdoing.
"What lessons did you learn from impeachment?" a reporter asked Trump in the Oval Office during a meeting with the president of Ecuador.
"That the Democrats are crooked," he replied. "They're vicious. That they shouldn't have brought impeachment."
Trump also falsely said that his poll numbers "are 10 points higher." Trump's average approval rating was 41.1% on Oct. 31, 2019, the day the House voted to open the impeachment inquiry. On Wednesday, it was 43.6%.
Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The impeachment stemmed from allegations Trump withheld critical military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the Ukrainian government to open a politically motivated investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump refused to hand over documents to Congress and ordered administration officials not to cooperate with the investigation.
Before voting to acquit Trump, Collins went on national television to declare "the president has learned from this case." She said that Trump has been impeached and "that's a pretty big lesson," adding, "I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future."
Earlier on Wednesday, Collins was asked what specific lessons she thought Trump learned from impeachment. She refused to answer, eventually closing the door on a reporter.
Since Collins and her Republican colleagues acquitted Trump, he has retaliated against multiple witnesses who provided Congress with evidence of his wrongdoing.
On Friday, Trump fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukrainian expert working at the White House who told Congress he was uncomfortable with Trump's July 25 phone call where Trump asked the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden.
Later that day, Trump also fired U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Sondland told Congress that Trump was involved in a quid pro quo with Ukraine centered on a White House visit for the Ukrainian president in exchange for opening an investigation.
Earlier this week, Trump inserted himself into the Justice Department's sentencing recommendation for his former campaign adviser, convicted felon Roger Stone. Stone was convicted of seven counts of witness tampering, lying to Congress, and obstruction of justice. The DOJ initially recommended up to nine years in prison, but subsequently reduced their recommendation after Trump called the punishment too harsh.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.