U.S. voters are split on the question of whether President Trump committed an impeachable offense in asking Ukraine’s president to help his administration investigate Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner.
Fifty percent of Americans said they think Trump’s request to Ukraine amounts to an impeachable offense, while the other half of voters disagreed, according to a survey by Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll.
The White House on Wednesday released the partial transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which reveals that he asked Ukraine to investigate Biden’s role in ousting the prosecutor in charge of probing a Ukrainian energy company that was paying the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden.
The revelation, brought to light by a whistleblower complaint, spurred Democrats to launch a formal impeachment probe against Trump on Tuesday.
“The poll shows that the public has serious concern over the Trump actions, with 50 percent favoring impeachment if he ‘pressured’ the Ukrainian leader but only 45 percent if he just ‘asked’ for the investigation,” said Mark Penn, one of the poll directors.
The half of Americans who considered Trump’s actions grounds for impeachment included 22 percent of Republicans, according to the poll.
A majority, 58 percent, said they found it inappropriate for Trump to ask Ukraine for assistance with the investigation. A smaller majority, 53 percent, said Trump’s actions appeared to be an effort to damage Biden politically rather than a sincere effort to expose wrongdoing.
Half of voters also said they believe the whistleblower filed the complaint in good faith to expose a real abuse of power, while the other half agreed with the characterization that the anonymous member of the intelligence community was “playing politics to hurt Trump.”
The intelligence community inspector general found that the whistleblower exhibited “arguable political bias” but said the allegations included in his complaint were nevertheless worthy of investigation.