Although President Donald Trump continues to insist that the Russia investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, is a “witch hunt,” most Americans do believe that Trump has committed a criminal act.
According to an Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released on Friday, almost three out of five Americans (58 percent) say they believe Trump has obstructed justice during the investigation. Forty percent don’t believe he’s done something wrong.
The results of the polling on that question are markedly divisive, with very few respondents — just 3 percent — saying they don’t have an opinion or don’t know whether Trump obstructed the investigation or not.
The poll asked several more questions on topics related to the inquiry, including whether Americans held the belief that Trump conducted himself in an illegal or improper manner with regards to Russia during or before the election. Thirty-eight percent say that Trump’s interactions with Moscow were illegal, while 34 percent stated that they believed Trump’s actions were improper but not illegal. A quarter of respondents said that Trump did absolutely nothing wrong.
On the question of impeachment, the poll asked the question in a way most other polls haven’t yet. Recent polling from a Politico/Morning Consult poll, for example, showed that 51 percent of Americans don’t think Trump deserves to be impeached at this time.
A former Trump aide told @axios that the sudden wave of criticism from Republicans on the Hill over Syria and Mattis should scare the president because he will desperately need these lawmakers' support during a possible impeachment battle https://t.co/a94RBU3pGt
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) December 21, 2018
But the AP/NORC poll presented the question in a different manner, asking respondents to tell them whether they believed Trump deserved to be removed from office through impeachment if it’s found he did obstruct justice, even without evidence of Russian collusion. A clear majority, 51 percent, said Congress should make moves to remove Trump from power if that evidence surfaces, while 46 percent said it shouldn’t happen.
Other methods exist to remove the president, of course, including the use of the 25th Amendment which would require the vice president and a majority of executive branch cabinet members to agree that the president was unfit to serve, but the polling didn’t ask a question regarding that matter. Also left out of the polling was any question on whether a sitting president can be indicted or not by a special counsel, a contention that the president would undoubtedly say cannot occur.
Separate polling from Quinnipiac University, released earlier this week, asked that question, however, and found that a vast majority of Americans, 71 percent, said that a sitting president should be subject to indictment for crimes, according to reporting from the Hill.