Majority of Americans Support Impeachment Inquiry into Trump (UPDATE)

The survey shows how public sentiment has moved amid the unfolding scandal over Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. (ILLUSTRATION: HUFFPOST; PHOTOS: GETTY)

CNBC

Updated: TUE, OCT 8 2019

Most Americans — including 1 in 5 Republicans — now back an impeachment inquiry or already believe Congress should remove President Donald Trump from office, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

The survey shows how public sentiment has moved amid the unfolding scandal over Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. The share of Americans who say Congress should let Trump complete his term has dipped to 39%, from 50% in July.

At the same time, the proportion who say Congress should move to impeachment and removal has ticked up to 24% from 21%, while those who support an impeachment inquiry have swelled to 31% from 27%. Taken together, that 55% majority backing an impeachment inquiry at minimum is the highest the NBC/WSJ poll has shown this year.

That represents a gradual, not dramatic, shift in opinion. But it shows that, after the political hazards of the Trump-Russia investigation appeared to dissipate during the summer, the president faces new and potentially more-threatening trouble over Ukraine.

“What we’re seeing in this poll is an openness and willingness to listen to new information,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff. His Democratic counterpart Peter Hart added, “There’s not a scintilla of good news for Donald Trump in this survey.”


2nd Whistleblower Adds to Impeachment Peril at White House (AP)


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has initiated an impeachment proceedings against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution in seeking help from a foreign leader to damage a political opponent. AP reports that this week a second whistleblower has come forward “adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House.” (AP photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: October 7th, 2019

A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House and potentially providing new leads to Democrats in their unfurling investigation of Trump’s conduct.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, said in a text message to The Associated Press that the second person has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog and can corroborate information in the original whistleblower complaint. That document alleged that Trump pushed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family, prompting a White House cover-up. Crucially, the new whistleblower works in the intelligence field and has “firsthand knowledge” of key events, Zaid said.

The emergence of the second whistleblower threatened to undermine arguments from Trump and his allies to discredit the original complaint. They have called it politically motivated, claimed it was filed improperly and dismissed it as unreliable because it was based on secondhand or thirdhand information.

A rough transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, released by the White House, has already corroborated the complaint’s central claim that Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The push came even though there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Text messages from State Department officials revealed other details, including that Ukraine was promised a visit with Trump if the government would agree to investigate the 2016 election and Ukrainian gas company Burisma — the outline of a potential quid pro quo.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said word of a second whistleblower indicates a larger shift inside the government.

“The president’s real problem is that his behavior has finally gotten to a place where people are saying, ‘Enough,’” Himes said.

Democrats have zeroed in on the State Department in the opening phase of their impeachment investigation. The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have already interviewed Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine who provided the text messages. At least two other witnesses are set for depositions this week: Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly ousted as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May.

Trump and his supporters deny that he did anything improper, but the White House has struggled to come up with a unified response. No administration officials appeared on the Sunday news shows to defend the president, while other Republicans focused mainly on attacking Democrats. A few Republicans suggested that Trump was only joking this past week when he publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s most vocal backers, provided perhaps the strongest defense of the president. He said there was nothing wrong with Trump’s July conversation with Zelenskiy and that the accusation look like a “political setup.”

As for Trump, rather than visiting his nearby golf course in Sterling, Virginia, for a second day, he stayed at White House, where he tweeted and retweeted, with the Bidens a main target.

“The great Scam is being revealed!” Trump wrote at one point, continuing to paint himself as the victim of a “deep state” and hostile Democrats.

As the president often does when he feels under attack, he trumpeted his strong support among Republican voters. He kept lashing out at Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, one of the few Republicans who has publicly questioned Trump’s conduct.

“The Democrats are lucky that they don’t have any Mitt Romney types,” Trump wrote, painting the 2012 GOP presidential nominee as a traitor to his party. Romney tweeted recently that Trump’s “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine” for an investigation of Biden is “wrong and appalling.”

The July call raised questions about whether Trump held back near $400 million in critical American military aid to Ukraine as leverage for a Burisma investigation. Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Ukraine. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

A leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Biden wrote in The Washington Post that he had a message for Trump and “those who facilitate his abuses of power. … Please know that I’m not going anywhere. You won’t destroy me, and you won’t destroy my family.”

Additional details about the origins of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy emerged over the weekend.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry had encouraged Trump to speak with the Ukrainian leader, but on energy and economic issues, according to Perry spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes. She said Perry’s interest in Ukraine is part of U.S. efforts to boost Western energy ties to Eastern Europe.

Trump, who has repeatedly described his conversation with Zelenskiy as “perfect,” told House Republicans on Friday night that it was Perry who teed up the July call, according to a person familiar with Trump’s comments who was granted anonymity to discuss them. The person said Trump did not suggest that Perry had anything to do with the pressure to investigate the Bidens.

As the furor over Trump’s phone call and the House’s subsequent impeachment inquiry escalated, two Republicans challenging Trump for the GOP presidential nomination engaged in a heated on-air debate over what should happen to the president. The exchange between former Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Joe Walsh of Illinois was notable, given the refusal of all but three Republican senators to criticize Trump’s conduct.

Walsh said the president deserves to be impeached. Sanford tried to make the case that moving forward with impeachment in the Democratic-run House if the Republican-controlled Senate doesn’t have the votes to convict would be counter-productive.

“This president needs to be impeached, just based on what he himself has said,” Walsh said. “And Republicans better get behind that.”

Himes appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” while Walsh was on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Graham spoke on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

___

Related:

U.S. House Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The dramatic development follows the recent revelation that Trump may have abused his presidential powers by seeking help from a foreign government to undermine his potential 2020 election opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, and help his own reelection campaign. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry, says Trump’s courting of foreign political help is a ‘betrayal of national security’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step Tuesday of initiating impeachment proceedings against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution in seeking help from a foreign leader to damage a political opponent.

Pelosi’s move came after Trump acknowledged that he urged the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination who holds a wide lead over Trump, polls show, in a potential general election matchup. The revelation prompted a rush of moderate House Democrats to call for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, a step they had resisted for months. On Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) relented as well.

“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in a brief statement before a backdrop of American flags, repeatedly invoking the nation’s founders. “Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”

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