Last week, I wrote that Democrats worried about public support for impeachment hearings should not be scared — moving ahead with the hearings would likely be followed by an increase in public support. And so it’s proved to be true — thanks in no small part to how lazily Republicans are defending the president.

A new CBS/YouGov poll finds that 55 percent of Americans now support an impeachment inquiry, including a remarkable 23 percent of Republicans. An ABC/Ipsos poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans think the Ukraine scandal is somewhat or very serious, with about 40 percent saying the latter. Even 32 percent of Republicans think the issue at least somewhat serious. As for impeachment itself, writes the New York Times’s Nate Cohn, in four polls an average of 46 percent of Americans already support impeachment to 42 percent against, a 10-point swing in favor of impeachment from the previous installments of those four polls.

So why the jump? As mentioned earlier, it’s not the first time that support for steps toward impeachment has increased after the start of an inquiry. The same thing happened during Watergate. But there’s another factor: When Republicans’ defense is being defined by people like White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), it’s no wonder that even a sizable chunk of GOP voters are deeply concerned by the president’s behavior.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Miller offered nothing but wild accusations, and when confronted with facts simply opted to repeat those accusations. This exchange with host Chris Wallace was typical:

WALLACE: We’re going to get to ... the Bidens in a minute, but I’ve asked you a specific question, I’d like a specific answer.
The president has the State Department. He's got the CIA. He's got the Pentagon. He's got a number of other agencies.
Why did he use three private lawyers to get information on Biden from the -- from the Ukrainian government rather than go through all of the agencies of this government?
MILLER: Two different points. Number one --
WALLACE: How about answering my question?
MILLER: John Durham, as you know --
WALLACE: Wait a minute. John Durham is investigating some a completely different.
Stephen, I'm asking you a direct question, why did the president use private attorneys rather than go to the State Department? If you don't know, that's an acceptable answer.
But let's not talk about John Durham, who was investigating the Trump --
(CROSSTALK)
MILLER: Chris, there's two issues that were brought up in the phone call --
WALLACE: I'm not asking two issues. Why did he do it?
MILLER: Chris, I understand. I understand that you have your question, I have my answer.
There's two issues that were brought up a phone call --
WALLACE: You have your non-answer at this point.

Meanwhile on CNN’s “State on Union,” Jordan, faced with real-time fact-checking from host Jake Tapper, also simply repeated himself:

Whether it’s because living in the right-wing media bubble dulls one’s talking points or because Miller and Jordan are just that inept — or both! — in both cases the Trump water-carriers seemed somehow stuck on both “repeat” and “empty” simultaneously. Contrast that with, say, Democrats during the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings. They could at least say that, whatever you thought of Clinton’s actions, they didn’t rise to the level of impeachment. Republicans’ defense is so paper-thin that Miller, Jordan and others can’t even make it through an interview without repeating themselves thrice or more.

“The president’s optimistic, even nonchalant attitude [toward impeachment] melted away this week,” reported Politico on Friday. Considering that Miller and Jordan are what passes for his defenders, the president is right to be scared.

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