Langer Research has a new poll out today for ABC News and the Washington Post. The headline was about Trump's enduring sway over Republican voters: "Six in 10 Republicans back Donald Trump as their party’s leader, slightly more than the share of Democrats who line up behind Joe Biden’s leadership of their party-- a sign of Trump’s lasting strength in his party as the midterm primary season revs up." And that's certainly important to know as we look towards tonight's results in Ohio and then the hotly contested May 10 and May 17 Republican primaries in Nebraska, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Idaho. (And right after that-- May 24-- in Alabama and Georgia.) Trump has do-or-die candidates in every one of those states, many of them so extreme and so completely wedded to Trump's Big Lie that Republicans risk losing safe red constituencies if Trump's candidates are victorious in primaries.
But that isn't what I felt was most compelling in the survey. How Americans see Trump's culpability for the attempted coup and the deadly insurrection is what got my attention. A majority of Americans favors charging Trump with a crime related to the January 6 riot. "Americans split 40-40 percent on whether the committee is or is not conducting a fair and impartial investigation of the riot; a substantial 20 percent have no opinion... Partisan divisions on the question are sharp. More overall, 52 percent, say Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the riot. That’s similar to results just a week after the attack, when 54 percent said he should be charged specifically with inciting a riot. Notably, nearly a quarter of those who think Trump should be charged with a crime don’t see the House committee’s investigation as fair and impartial."
Evaluations of the House committee’s investigation of the riot divide along party lines. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats think the committee is conducting a fair and impartial investigation; a similar seven in 10 Republicans say it’s not doing so. Independents are split, 39- 38 percent.
Trump-aligned Republicans and Republican leaners-- those who say the party should follow his leadership-- are among the least apt to see the committee as fair and impartial, with just 10 percent saying so. That rises to 27 percent of those who’d prefer GOP leaders go another way.
On the Democrats’ side, those less wed to Biden’s leadership are far less apt to see a fair and impartial investigation, 48 percent vs. 78 percent among those backing his direction.
The Washington Post noted that "Strong partisan divisions remain when it comes to views of whether Trump should face legal consequences: 86 percent of Republicans oppose prosecuting Trump versus 88 percent of Democrats who support charging the former president... However, as the House committee investigating the attack nears the public phase of its investigation beginning next month, there may be an opportunity to engage a new audience, as 20 percent of Americans volunteered that they have no opinion about the panel’s fairness. The committee will hold hearings in prime time beginning June 9."
From the first day it was announced that the House-- despite obstructionism from congressional Republicans who wanted no investigation-- would go forward with a select committee, we urged that Jamie Raskin be named chairman. Predictably, Pelosi picked a tired old crony of hers, Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Fortunately, Thompson seems to be allowing Raskin to act as the main spokesperson for the committee. Before the Roe v Wade news dropped yesterday, he was all over the media ginning up drama and excitement for the public hearings that will start in a month. He says that the hearings will reveal "the worst presidential political offense" in American history and will come with shocking revelations.
"We now have evidence to support the story of the worst presidential political offense against the Union in American history," Raskin tweeted Friday. "The [January 6th Committee] hearings in June will expose every facet of the assault against our democracy and Constitution on 1/6."
..."No president has ever come close to doing what happened here in terms of trying to organize an inside coup to overthrow an election and bypass the constitutional order," Raskin said at an event on Thursday, according to NBC. "And then also use a violent insurrection made up of domestic violent extremist groups, white nationalist and racist, fascist groups in order to support the coup."
..."This was not a coup directed at the president," Raskin said. "It was a coup directed by the president against the vice president and against the Congress."
Raskin told CBS's Robert Costa on Thursday that the committee had not decided if it wanted former Vice President Mike Pence to testify in the hearings. Raskin has, however, tweeted about Pence several times when bringing up the Capitol assault, causing some to wonder if he could be a key witness for the investigation.
"After fleeing Trump's mob on 1/6 with Secret Service detail, Pence refused to be driven from Capitol before certifying election, uttering 6 of the most chilling words in US history: 'I'm not getting in the car.' America must tell Trump's cult: we're not getting in the car either," Raskin tweeted.