Friday 17 January 2020

President has committed offences, say 57pc of voters

Delay: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants assurances before sending the impeachment articles to the Senate
Delay: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants assurances before sending the impeachment articles to the Senate

John Wagner

Almost six in 10 Americans think Donald Trump has committed an impeachable offence, polling suggests.

However, the public is more evenly split on whether the president should be removed from office by the Senate, or voters should decide his fate in this year's election.

The latest 538-Ipsos poll also finds Democrats, Republicans and Mr Trump alike get low marks from the public for how they are handling the process.

After last month's House vote to impeach Mr Trump, largely along party lines, the parties are at an impasse regarding the timing and scope of a Senate trial.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declined to transmit the articles of impeachment - for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - to the Republican-controlled Senate.

Ms Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats are looking for assurances on the format of the proceedings, including guarantees that they will be able to subpoena documents and call witnesses regarding Mr Trump's conduct regarding Ukraine.

At centre of story: Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who was on firm’s board
At centre of story: Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who was on firm’s board

The poll finds that 57pc of Americans think Mr Trump has committed an impeachable offense, while 40pc think he has not. Of those who think he has, 50pc are "absolutely certain", while another 31pc are "pretty certain".

Meanwhile, 51pc of those polled say voters should ultimately determine Mr Trump's fate, while 47pc say he should be removed from office by the Senate.

Separately, a Washington Post average of 16 national polls in December found 47 pc supported impeaching and removing Trump, while 48pc were opposed.

The 538-Ipsos poll found that fewer than half of Americans - 45pc - think House Democrats should continue to delay the start of a Senate trial until concerns about its fairness are resolved.

A majority - 52pc - say the trial should not wait.

Neither party is winning high marks from the public for its handling of the proceedings.

While 35pc of Americans approve of how congressional Democrats are handling the process, 45pc disapprove.

A still smaller 28pc of Americans approve of how congressional Republicans are handling the process, while 51pc disapprove.

Meanwhile, 27pc approve of how Mr Trump is handling the process, while 55pc say that they disapprove.

At the heart of the Democrats' case is the allegation that Mr Trump tried to exploit for political ends Ukraine's desire for a White House meeting for its president and military aid to combat Russian military aggression.

It is alleged he put President Volodymyr Zelensky under pressure to launch an investigation of former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as to announce a probe of an unfounded theory that Kirb conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Majorities of Americans say they believe elements of the Democratic case based on what they know, according to the poll.

A total of 80pc say they believe that Mr Trump asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, while 60pc believe he withheld military aid with the aim of prompting an investigation into the Bidens.

The poll found that 61pc believe Mr Trump and his administration attempted to cover up information about his actions toward Ukraine.

Majorities also say those actions would be inappropriate if they in fact happened.

The poll also includes an ominous finding for Mr Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was overseeing US policy towards Ukraine during his time as vice-president.

The poll finds that Americans are evenly divided - 48pc to 48pc - on whether Mr Biden behaved ethically.

When asked about an upcoming Senate trial, most Americans - 57pc - say it would be better to allow new witnesses, as Democrats have urged.

Meanwhile, 86pc say senators should attempt to be "impartial jurors" and examine the evidence.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and a number of other Republicans have come under fire from Democrats for saying they do not consider themselves impartial jurors.

Mr McConnell has also announced that he is working with Mr Trump's legal team ahead of a trial. (© Washingtton Post)

Irish Independent

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