Sunday, October 2, 2022

About half of Americans think Trump should be charged on January 6, the poll says

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – About half of Americans believe former President Donald Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, a new poll shows.

The survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 48% of American adults say the former president should be charged with a crime for his role, while 31% say he should not be charged. An additional 20% say they do not know enough to have an opinion. Fifty-eight percent say Trump bears much or considerable responsibility for what happened that day.

The poll was conducted after five public hearings by the House committee, which investigated Jan. 6, which sought to portray Trump’s potential criminal guilt in the events that led to the deadly uprising. But that was taken before Tuesday’s surprise trial with former Trump White House assistant Cassidy Hutchinson. Her explosive testimony provided the most convincing evidence yet that the former president could be linked to a federal crime, experts say

Views on Trump’s criminal liability predictably break down along party lines, with 86% of Democrats but only 10% of Republicans saying Trump should be charged with a crime. Among Republicans, 68% say he should not be charged and 21% say they know. Yet, the fact that nearly half of the country believes he should be prosecuted is a remarkable position for the former president, pointing to the problems he faces when he faces the White House again in 2024.

For Ella Metze, a South Carolina Democrat, Trump’s guilt was clear from the start when he encouraged his supporters to march to the Captiol on the morning of January 6 and “fight like hell.”

“It was meant to provoke violence because he kept encouraging them,” the 86-year-old told The Associated Press. “As it happened, I watched it all and just thought, why doesn’t someone stop it? Why doesn’t he stop it? ”

Chris Schloemer, a Texas independent, agreed that Trump bears the responsibility of upsetting the crowd with his unfounded allegations of election fraud. But the 61-year-old does not just blame Trump.

Schloemer feels that Republicans in Congress also have a hand in what happened that day: “I feel that people were afraid of Donald Trump, especially Republican politicians, and therefore they would not keep him in check, and I think it did. just encouraged him. “

And he is not alone. While views on Trump’s role have not changed since December, Americans are now somewhat more likely than they were at the time to say that Republicans in Congress were significantly responsible for the events of January 6th.

Forty-six percent say so now, slightly higher from 41% in December. An additional 21% say IDP legislators had some responsibility and 30% say they were not responsible. The change in share that says Republicans have a great deal of responsibility in Congress was driven primarily by Democrats and independents.

Florida Democrat Ulysses Bryant said while he always believed Trump and the rioters should be charged with a crime, he did not know about Republican involvement in Congress until he began following the hearings. .

Nearly 6 out of 10 Americans – 56% – say they have followed news of the congressional hearings. A smaller but still significant share – 42% – say they watched or listened.

The nine-member panel, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, has been working all day over the past year to investigate the connection between Trump and his allies and the violence and chaos that has erupted on the Capitol. The public trial phase of their investigation is intended to showcase all that investigative work to the American public in an attempt to create a historical record of what happened.

Seventy-five percent of Democrats and 42 percent of Republicans say they followed news of the hearings. More Democrats than Republicans also say they voted in, 58% to 27%. The first of the public hearings, which began in early June, received high ratings for TV viewers, although subsequent hearings received more modest ratings.

Kathlyn Keller, a retired investment banker from San Francisco, is one of the GOP voters who joined the hearings and still believes Trump holds no responsibility for the events of that day.

The 83-year-old believes the only people to be charged are those who brought weapons to the Capitol, or anyone who entered the building and caused damage inside. “Trump should be charged with absolutely nothing,” she told the Associated Press.

Nevertheless, the committee plans to continue its congressional inquiry and present new evidence to its numerous viewers in the coming weeks, including the most important: Attorney General Merrick Garland. Regardless of public opinion about Trump’s likely criminal involvement, lawmakers are still facing a stark reality: While they can investigate Jan. 6 and issue summonses to gather information, only the Department of Justice can bring criminal charges.

But there are clear signs in recent weeks that the Department of Justice is apparently escalating its investigation into pro-Trump attempts to overthrow the 2020 election. Federal agents on Wednesday seized the cell phone of Trump attorney John Eastman, who was the architect behind a plan to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject the election college results.

Last week, authorities searched the Virginia House of Jeffrey Clark, who was known to the Department of Justice to defend Trump’s false allegations of election fraud. Agents also filed lawsuits against Republican Party presidents of Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, three states that went for President Joe Biden and where Trump allies created a list of “alternative voters” that were meant to undermine the vote. . And Republicans in two other states – Michigan and Pennsylvania – have revealed that they have been questioned by the FBI.

The 1,053 adult survey was conducted from June 23 to 27, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, designed to be representative of the American population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Associated Press author Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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