Americans sharply divided over whether to impeach and remove Trump from office


The Washington Post  :
As the House moves to a new, more public phase of its impeachment inquiry, the country is sharply divided along partisan lines over whether President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The poll finds that 49 percent of Americans say the president should be impeached and removed from office, while 47 percent say he should not. That finding is almost identical to support for impeachment in a poll by The Post and the Schar School taken earlier in October.
Among Democrats, support for removing the president from office is overwhelming, with 82 percent in favor and 13 percent opposed. Among Republicans, it is almost the reverse, with 82 percent opposed and 18 percent in favor, even as the president's approval rating reached a new low among members of his party. Independents are closely divided, with 47 percent favoring removal and 49 percent opposed. On Thursday, the House approved a resolution setting out the terms for the next phase of the inquiry, which to this point has included weeks of closed-door testimony. The resolution laid out plans for televised hearings with witnesses and rules and procedures for the examination of those witnesses.
The vote on that measure split along partisan lines in a House that is bitterly divided. All Republicans and two Democrats opposed the measure, with all other Democrats supporting it. Those divisions reflected the broader public sentiment highlighted in the Post-ABC poll and underscored the partisan warfare that will surround the inquiry as it moves forward.
Although the public is sharply divided on the ultimate question of Trump's fate in the impeachment process, support for the proceedings has risen over the past few months. In a July Post-ABC survey, 37 percent of Americans said Congress should open an impeachment inquiry that could lead to Trump's removal, with 59 percent opposed.
The current level of support for impeachment, though revealing the sharp divisions within the country, contrasts notably with attitudes during the process that led to the impeachment, but not removal from office, of former president Bill Clinton. Throughout the fall of 1998, support for impeachment never rose above 41 percent in Post-ABC surveys and stood at 33 percent in December that year, shortly before the House voted to impeach Clinton.
The July poll was taken after the release of the report by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the president sought to obstruct the Mueller investigation. That probe found multiple contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russians, but no criminal conspiracy.
The July survey, however, came before recent revelations about the president's alleged efforts to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into the 2016 election and into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Biden's son served as a paid adviser on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was in office.
Several witnesses who have testified before the House Intelligence Committee have described a quid pro quo asked by Trump, with military aid to Ukraine and a White House visit by the newly elected Zelensky withheld over the summer as the president pressed Ukrainian leaders for an affirmative statement about the opening of the investigations he was seeking involving his potential rival.
Most Americans judge what Trump did in that case as out of line. The latest survey finds 55 percent of Americans concluding that, regardless of their views on impeachment, Trump did something wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, including 47 percent saying that what he did was seriously wrong. Fewer, 35 percent, say he did nothing wrong, with the remaining 10 percent offering no opinion. Overall, about 1 in 10 say he did something wrong but oppose impeachment.
There are even stronger objections to the role played by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer and former mayor of New York. Witnesses have characterized Giuliani as running a shadow foreign policy with regard to Ukraine that operated outside the bounds of the administration's regular chain of command.
Asked whether that was appropriate or not, 60 percent of Americans say it was not, with 31 percent saying it was. On that question, nearly a third of Republicans (32 percent) say Trump involving Giuliani in Ukraine policy was not appropriate, to go along with 83 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents.