Support for impeaching President Donald Trump has fallen 7 points since December, a CNN Poll conducted by SSRS finds, following Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calling impeachment "so divisive to the country."The decline — from 43% in favor in December to 36% now — stems largely from a change in Democratic views on impeaching the President. In December, 80% of self-identified Democrats said they were in favor of impeachment — that now stands at 68%, a 12-point dip. Among independents and Republicans, support for impeachment has fallen 3 points over the same time.
It’s not that Democrats think Trump hasn’t engaged in misconduct. They simply don’t want to impeach him.
Overall, "even though Americans are shying away from impeachment, only about 4 in 10 say Democrats in Congress are overreaching in the investigations of the President they have launched since taking control of the House in January. About a third (34%) say congressional Democrats are doing the right amount, and 22% feel they’re doing too little.”) Among Democrats, 94 percent think the House is doing the right amount or not enough investigation.
And most Americans (56 percent) still think special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation is important and worthwhile, compared with 38 percent who think it’s an effort to discredit Trump.
It’s not entirely clear why Democrats have soured on impeachment. One possibility is that they rather like the multifaceted investigation, understanding that it is already driving Trump nuts and revealing the extent of his mendacity. Another theory is that Democrats are now enjoying the start of the presidential primary, look forward to an election and want to run against a badly bruised Trump. Lastly, Democrats might have figured out that impeachment will not result in removal, but might help revive Trump and enliven his supporters.
For those dismayed that the chances of impeachment are diminishing, let’s remember some key facts.
First, if Trump has committed crimes, he can be prosecuted after leaving office both for alleged obstruction in relation to the Russia probe and in New York for everything from alleged conspiracy, violation of campaign finance laws, financial crimes and witness tampering/obstruction (e.g. if he dangled a pardon for Michael Cohen in an effort to keep him quiet.). Beating Trump in November 2020 means the country might finally see justice done.
Second, Mueller is conducting a counterintelligence investigation and has already turned up evidence of the Trump Tower meeting to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, Paul Manafort’s consorting with and providing loads of polling data to someone who may have ties to Russian intelligence, Konstantin Kilimnik. The conclusion could very well be that Trump’s campaign was in fact colluding but he was too clueless to figure out what was going on and too gullible in hiring so many of Russia’s flunkies.
Finally, Trump’s business might still be indicted, a move that would essentially allege that the Trump Organization is a criminal enterprise responsible for a whole bunch of crimes. Trump might not care all that much if an associate or even his son-in-law goes to jail, but losing the business his father gave him (and had to repeatedly bail out due to Trump’s ineptitude) would be devastating to Trump, whose entire identity is based on the pretense that he’s a genius negotiator and successful mogul. If it’s all taken away, Trump would just be another cranky retiree yelling at Fox News for hours on end.