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Collins said: "I'm going to do what I think is right".

"This vote is a complete betrayal of ME voters, of the women who have called her offices, and written letters, and organized phone banks, and attended rallies, and told their very deeply painful stories to her and her staff".

As columnist Frida Ghitas wrote on CNN Saturday morning, "The FBI probe apparently did not find any corroborating evidence into allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh because it was never meant to do that". They had even attempted what some senators called a "bribe", raising millions of dollars in campaign pledges that they said they would donate to her opponent if she voted for President Trump's nominee.

But constituents in ME have told a different story since Collins' speech last Friday, in which she suggested that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford incorrectly remembered Kavanaugh as the person who assaulted her when the two were in high school and claimed the judge had displayed an appropriate temperament for a Supreme Court justice.

Decrying the unprecedented amount of dark money spent opposing Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, Senator Collins said, "Our Supreme Court confirmation process has been in steady decline for more than 30 years".

Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, a jurist who could give conservatives a solid 5-4 ideological edge on the country's highest court and shape rulings for decades.

On Saturday night, Trump portrayed his successful confirmation vote on Kavanaugh as a reason voters should elect Republicans in next month's nationwide congressional elections, when the political control of Congress is at stake. According to a new report from Planned Parenthood, 25 million USA women of reproductive age "are poised to lose access to abortion immediately if Kavanaugh is the fifth vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade".

"I thought that Susan was incredible yesterday. If she had demonstrated the same commitment to the truth and came up with a different conclusion, I would still support her based on her efforts".

Kavanaugh sworn into Supreme Court after divisive fight
Media captionTrump: "The main base of the Democrats have shifted so far left we'll end up being Venezuela". In her speech announcing support for the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh , Maine Sen.

"I do believe that she was assaulted".

"We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be", Ms. Collins said.

"When I looked at the lack of any corroborating evidence, including no evidence from her very best friend who was present at the party, I could not conclude that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant", said Collins.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who had been the star of the Kavanaugh show for Republicans until Ms. Collins' speech, called her address "one of the most consequential speeches in the history of the United States".

Over the weekend, Collins reiterated her claim on CNN's "State of the Union" that Ford was likely assaulted-but that she had somehow mis-remembered the perpetrator, both when she testified about the allegation in September and in 2012 when she spoke to a therapist about the experience.

Collins on Sunday belittled a possible challenge from Rice, saying that "everybody knows" she does not live in Maine.

Rice, however, said her "ties to ME are long and deep". "The last 20 so years I've been a home owner in the state of Maine, so it's not completely insane", she said.