Let them speak: Most Americans want witnesses in Trump impeachment trial – Reuters/Ipsos poll

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(Reuters) – A bipartisan majority of Americans want to see new witnesses testify in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and the public appears to be largely following the proceedings even after a bruising congressional inquiry that lasted several months, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling released Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference at the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The poll, which ran from Jan. 17-22, also showed that U.S. public opinion has moved little since the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump in mid-December.

About 44% of adults in the United States say Trump should be removed from office, another 15% say he should be reprimanded formally with a congressional censure, and 31% said the charges should be dismissed.

Trump so far has blocked the Democrats’ requests for documents related to the administration’s activities in Ukraine last year. He has also urged officials like former national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to participate.

Republicans in the Senate so far have backed up the president, rejecting requests for White House documents and interviews with administration officials.

The poll showed that Republicans and Democrats want to see people like Bolton and Pompeo tell the Senate what they know about the administration’s policies in Ukraine.

About 72% agreed that the trial “should allow witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the impeachment charges to testify,” including 84% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans. And 70% of the public, including 80% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans, said senators should “act as impartial jurors” during the trial.

About 40% of Americans said they had a favorable view of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while 60% said they have an unfavorable view of him.

The poll showed that two out of three Americans are paying attention to the proceedings, with Democrats more interested than Republicans.

About 12% said they plan to watch the trial every day, while 17% planned to watch a few times a week, and 36% said they would check in on the trial afterward through news reports.

Despite their expressed interest in the trial, Americans were divided over giving the press more access to the Senate proceedings, which the Senate has largely restricted for the trial.

About 46% agreed that journalists should be allowed to enter the Senate chamber with cameras and cover the trial. Another 41% disagreed, and 13% said they did not know.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses in two waves: the first was conducted Jan. 17-21 and asked 1,116 people about their interest in following the trial. The second was conducted Jan. 21-22 and asked 1,108 people about whether to remove Trump from office.

Both polls have a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 5 percentage points.

Reporting by Chris Kahn in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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