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‘Half of Americans’ blame Trump for Capitol Hill attack

Poll could be blow to ex-president’s re-election bid

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Former US President Donald Trump urged his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ on the day of the Capitol riots. Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters

Former US President Donald Trump urged his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ on the day of the Capitol riots. Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters

Former US President Donald Trump urged his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ on the day of the Capitol riots. Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters

Recent revelations about former US president Donald Trump appear to be taking a toll on his popularity, according to the latest poll.

About half of Americans believe Mr Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, a new poll shows.

The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research finds that 48pc of US adults say Mr Trump should be charged with a crime for his role, while 31pc say he should not be charged.

An additional 20pc say they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

More than half those polled (58pc) say Mr Trump bears a great deal or quite a bit of responsibility for what happened that day.

The poll was conducted after five public hearings by the House committee, investigating January 6, which has sought to paint Mr Trump’s potential criminal culpability in the events that led to deadly insurrection.

But it was taken before Tuesday’s surprise hearing featuring former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Her explosive testimony provided the most compelling evidence yet that the former president could be linked to a federal crime, experts say

Views on Mr Trump’s criminal liability break down predictably along party lines, with 86pc of Democrats but only 10pc of Republicans saying he should be charged with a crime.

Among Republicans, 68pc say he should not be charged and 21pc say they don’t know.

Still, the fact that nearly half the country believes he should be prosecuted is a remarkable position for the former president, pointing to the difficulties he could face if he makes another run at the White House in 2024.

For Ella Metze, a South Carolina Democrat, Mr Trump’s culpability has been clear from the beginning, when he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol on the morning of January 6 and “fight like hell”.

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“It was meant to provoke violence because he kept encouraging them,” the 86-year-old told The Associated Press.

“As it happened, I watched it all and I just thought why doesn’t somebody stop this? Why doesn’t he stop this?”

Chris Schloemer, a Texas independent, agreed Mr Trump holds responsibility for egging on the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud. But, the 61-year-old doesn’t lay the blame solely on the former president.

Mr Schloemer feels Republicans in Congress have a hand in what happened that day, too: “I feel like people were afraid of Donald Trump, especially Republican politicians, and so they wouldn’t rein him in, and I think that just emboldened him.”

And he’s not alone.

While views of Mr Trump’s role have not changed since December, Americans are somewhat more likely now than they were then to say Republicans in Congress were significantly responsible for the events of January 6.

Almost half (46pc) say that now, up slightly from 41pc in December. An additional 21pc say GOP lawmakers had some responsibility and 30pc say they were not responsible.

The change in the share saying Republicans in Congress have a large amount of responsibility was driven mostly by Democrats and independents.

Ulysses Bryant, a Democrat from Florida, said while he always believed Mr Trump and the rioters should be charged with a crime, he hadn’t known of the involvement of congressional Republicans until he began to follow the hearings.

Close to six in 10 Americans — 56pc — say they followed news about the congressional hearings. A smaller but still sizeable share – 42pc – say they watched or listened.

The nine-member panel, comprised of seven Democrats and two Republicans, has worked around the clock for the last year to investigate the connection between Mr Trump and his allies and the violence and chaos that ensued on the Capitol.

The public hearing phase of their investigation is meant to put all of that investigative work on display to the American public in an effort to create a historical record of what occurred.


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