The latest CNN poll finds that by a 50-to-43 percent margin, Americans favor impeachment and removal of President Trump, a new high in the CNN poll.

A remarkable 45 percent strongly think Trump should be impeached and removed. Support for impeachment mirrors Trump’s support (or lack thereof) among various cross-sections of the electorate. Independents favor impeachment 50 to 42 percent, women by 56-to-36 percent margin and college graduates by a 56-to-37 percent spread (white college graduates favor impeachment and removal 51 to 42 percent). In a perfect distillation of Trump’s standing in general, “26% of white men without college degrees favor impeachment and removal, but [that] ... more than doubles to 54% among white women who hold four-year degrees.”

Moreover, “50% say the things that Trump has said publicly about his handling of US relations with Ukraine are mostly false. Fewer, 44%, think the President is mostly telling the truth about it, with views sharply divided by party (86% of Republicans say his public statements on it have been mostly true, while 83% of Democrats say mostly false).”

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In short, none of Trump’s seething, lying, ranting and deflecting has worked to convince the public that he is a victim of some elite plot. Contrary to Democrats’ fears there has not been a backlash against Democrats. House Democrats’ approval numbers (43/49) are substantially better than Republicans’, who draw a 57-to-32 percent disapproval rating. Perhaps Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) are not the best advocates for Trump. As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “Her favorability rating stands at its best mark since April 2007, with 44% holding a favorable view of her, and 46% unfavorable. That increase rests mostly on a shift among independents since May — 32% had a favorable view of her then, while 42% do now.”

With Trump’s overall approval (41/57) and favorability (42/56) both in negative territory, Trump has solidified public opposition to his presidency. The more he demands perfect loyalty from Republicans and fires up his base with incoherent accusations, the less likely it seems that he has a reasonable chance of winning reelection even if he does survive impeachment and a Senate trial.

Several points are worth emphasizing.

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First, the public has only a narrow window into the testimony of the cooperating witnesses who have come forward and has seen only a few documents substantiating evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing. To the extent that there is blockbuster evidence still not out in the public domain, support for impeachment may strengthen even further.

Second, the initiation of impeachment in and of itself helped shift public opinion by giving heft and legitimacy to the investigation. A succinct restatement of facts in articles of impeachment, including quotes from the July 25 call transcript, may move opinion once again.

Third, it is essential to keep the impeachment focused on the issue that jump-started the formal inquiry — Ukraine — and to remind voters that what is at stake here is different from what has come before, worse than the corruption we have come to expect from this administration. Trump cannot be left in office to manipulate and invalidate the election in which he is running by inviting foreign interference. We have never had a president ask a foreign government to interfere in an election on his behalf, and use taxpayer-funded aid to extort an ally into this breach of American sovereignty.

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Whether Trump is removed, he will almost certainly be impeached, and it will be critical to those fighting to preserve the sanctity of U.S. elections to make clear that what is at stake is none other than the basic principle that Americans choose American leaders.

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