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Most Democrats in the U.S. want impeachment hearings to begin against President Trump. That's according to a new NPR, "PBS NewsHour" and Marist poll out today. But the poll also finds that Americans overall don't want to proceed that way. NPR's Miles Parks has more.
MILES PARKS, BYLINE: Like most Democrats, Linda Bach isn't a fan of President Trump or the people he's surrounded himself with.
LINDA BACH: Everyone in his, quote-unquote, "interim constellation of an administration" are simply beards for his ethically bankrupt, you know, devoid of true interests and heart for our country.
PARKS: The new NPR, "PBS NewsHour," Marist poll shows that almost all Democrats are like Bach. They strongly disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president. And now that Robert Mueller's redacted report is out, 70% of them want impeachment proceedings to begin in Congress. But that's not in line with the rest of America. Overall, just 39% of poll respondents think impeachment should be the next step. That puts Democratic politicians in an awkward spot, or a tightrope walk, as Mary Griffith puts it. She's the media director for polling at Marist College, who conducted the survey.
MARY GRIFFITH: There is a distinction that needs to be made whether we're talking about the Democratic leadership or whether we're talking about Democrats who are seeking their party's nomination in 2020.
PARKS: That distinction matters because the issue has the potential to ignite Democratic primary voters. Among the presidential hopefuls, Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren as well as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro have voiced support for impeachment recently. Here's Harris at a CNN event last week.
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KAMALA HARRIS: There is an investigation that has been conducted which has produced evidence that tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice. I believe Congress should take the steps towards impeachment.
PARKS: But the poll makes it clear that pushing impeachment could also alienate some more moderate voters in the general election.
JACK SCHONHAUT: The Democrats shouldn't pursuit it anymore.
PARKS: That's Jack Schonhaut. He's a self-proclaimed lifelong Democrat from Long Island. He says Democrats need people in the Midwest to vote for them in the next presidential election.
SCHONHAUT: I mean, because impeachment is only going to further divide the country, I think the focus should be on 2020, voting the guy out of office.
PARKS: Even as support for impeachment is soft, there remains broad confidence in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The poll found that 57% of Americans believe Mueller's investigation to be fair. Democrats and independent voters overwhelmingly thought his work was done fairly. And independents also think there's more to investigate when it comes to Trump and Russia. Sixty-five percent said questions still exist about President Trump's potential wrongdoing.
Republicans were pretty evenly split on the investigation. That was surprising to Mary Griffith because it comes after two years of attacks on the investigation from President Trump.
GRIFFITH: Donald Trump has been able to carry his base along with him on most issues. But when it comes to the investigation, in terms of its fairness, that hasn't been the case.
PARKS: So what impact will the special counsel's report have on the presidential race in 2020? Not very much according to this poll. Just 6% of all registered voters and just 3% of independents said it would be the most important factor when they choose who to vote for. Miles Parks, NPR News, Washington.
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