Even Fox News’ Chris Wallace acknowledges that the public isn’t backing impeachment — but Democrats are holding fast to the election gambit.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) brushed off a lack of bipartisan support in an interview with Wallace on Sunday, saying that Democrats will follow through, public opinion be damned, according to the Washington Examiner. Wallace had pressed Jeffries to justify the impeachment push, arguing that “the public apparently isn’t buying it.”
Democrats v. America
After two months of fevered speculation about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, Democrats have failed to move the American public to back impeachment — in fact, quite the opposite has happened. Wallace pointed Sunday to a Gallup poll that showed support for removing Trump from office has fallen from 52% in early October to 48% after the public hearings concluded.
A number of polls have told the same story: even in cases where support for impeaching Trump rises to 50%, there simply is not the kind of massive public backing that Democrats should want, and that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) repeatedly cited in putting impeachment off for months. Despite doing their best to convince the American people, “the public apparently isn’t buying it at this point,” Wallace said — not that Democrats would let some little thing like public opinion get in the way.
“Our job is to follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the U.S. Constitution, and present the truth to the American people no matter where it leads,” Jeffries said, “because no one is above the law.”
Jeffries said he saw a poll that placed support for impeachment and removal at 50%, likely referring to a recent CNN poll taken after hearings finished, according to Newsweek. But the public remains sharply divided, and at this stage, it appears unlikely that will change.
This places Democrats in a difficult position: if they don’t impeach Trump then they risk disappointing their base, but following through carries its own political risks. Democrats plan to hold a hearing in the Judiciary Committee, of which Jeffries is a member, on Wednesday. Watch the congressman’s full interview below:
A “boon” for the GOP
For his part, President Trump has refused an invitation to have his lawyers appear at an impeachment hearing, and Wallace, who has repeatedly backed the Democrats’ Ukraine narrative, actually sympathized with him. The Fox anchor asked Jeffries how his party could expect Trump to send lawyers to a hearing without knowing who the witnesses are, echoing President Trump’s complaints about due process.
Jeffries conceded that even he doesn’t know who the witnesses will be, Fox noted, despite Jerry Nadler (D-NY) giving Trump only until Sunday to make a decision on whether to participate.
Talking to reporters Monday, Trump said that he wouldn’t send a lawyer because the impeachment is a “disgrace” and a “hoax” and noted that the Democrats scheduled the hearing when Trump will be visiting London for NATO talks planned a year ago. At the same time, Trump called impeachment a “tremendous boon” for Republicans, saying that Democrats are “getting killed in their own districts.”
To remove Trump from office, some 20 Republican senators would need to defect — but with impeachment seeming to have already peaked and Republicans circling the wagons, that scenario seems increasingly less likely.