As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial gets underway this week in the Senate, a majority of Americans seem to trust the case that investigators have built against the president. According to a new NPR/Marist poll, a full 51 percent of Americans believe that Trump “encourages election interference,” which is exactly what he’s accused of in the impeachment proceedings. He got caught trying to bribe Ukraine into investigating the Bidens, which is even more direct participation in the same kind of foreign interference in U.S. elections that Russia led and Trump benefited from in 2016.
The numbers mirror a new CNN/SSRS poll released this week, which stated that 51 percent of Americans believe that the Senate should remove Trump from office in the impeachment trial. There’s no indication that removal is an even somewhat viable possibility thanks to the Republican majority in the Senate, but if majorities — however slim — are against the president, his re-election chances don’t look good.
A full 88 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents in that NPR poll agreed that Trump encourages election interference. One voter, New York independent Dimitri Laddis, gave the outlet his grim perspective, explaining:
‘I considered the attack on our electoral system to be the single biggest assault on United States sovereignty since Pearl Harbor. The fact that the commander in chief has done nothing to reassure us that we are safe from such an attack — and the fact that he seems to be keenly aware that he benefits from outside forces having influence over our elections — is very disheartening.’
In the NPR poll, a full 56 percent of respondents think that Trump “has not done very much or has done nothing at all to make sure there will be no future election interference.” Similarly, a significant portion of voters — 41 percent — said that they believe that “the U.S. is not very prepared or not prepared at all to keep November’s election safe and secure.” (52 percent of respondents believed that the U.S. is appropriately prepared.)
Time and time again, Trump has even denied the that foreign interference in U.S. elections is even a threat, and when forced to confront it — like via the record of his infamous July phone conversation with the Ukrainian president in which he pushed for those investigations — he’s dismissed its relevance, although majorities of Americans are clearly worried about the situation.
Still, Trump has called that phone conversation with Ukraine’s president “perfect” over and over again. He’s also dismissed reports implicating Russia in 2016 meddling and outlining how they’re poised to do it again in 2020, and instead of acting, he’s palled around with Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin. He’s even taken Putin’s propaganda bait about the baselessly supposed real culprit behind 2016 meddling and accused Ukraine. Trump ally Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) ran with that propaganda to the point of proclaiming on national television that the Ukrainian president had “actively worked” for Hillary Clinton. That is an outlandish, baseless claim.
But now, the president will be facing at least some accountability for his behavior via this impeachment trial. Democrats have been pushing to hear from witnesses so that the president and his supporters can’t escape the evidence.