Trump steadfast in denials as support for impeachment grows

President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE in an interview broadcast Sunday repeatedly said special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE found no collusion with Russia and "essentially" ruled out obstruction, coming back to the point in response to a number of questions at the same time a new poll showed that the number of Americans who support impeachment is growing.

In the ABC News interview, Trump said he read Mueller’s report, released in April, and that the special counsel “found no collusion, and he didn’t find anything having to do with obstruction.”

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The report cited more than 100 contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia but said there was insufficient evidence to conclude there was a conspiracy. Investigators also did not make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice, with Mueller saying it was because a sitting president cannot be prosecuted.

In the same interview, Trump waved off a letter in which more than 1,000 federal prosecutors said he would have been indicted for obstruction were he not a sitting president, saying the signatories were “politicians” and “Trump haters.”

His interview was broadcast as a poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that support for impeachment hearings had increased 10 points since May, to 27 percent. The increase was largely driven by Democrats, 48 percent of whom now favor impeachment, up 18 points from last month. 

The new poll found that the number of Americans who believe Congress should continue to investigate whether there is sufficient evidence to hold impeachment hearings fell 8 points to 24 percent.

A Fox News poll released Sunday, meanwhile, found that that 50 percent of respondents said they believe the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, up 6 points from March. Forty-four percent of respondents said they don't believe there was collusion.

Half of that poll’s respondents favored impeachment, with 43 percent supporting impeaching and removing Trump — a 1-point increase from March — and 7 percent endorsing impeachment but not removal, compared to 48 percent who opposed impeachment. The same survey found that 56 percent of respondents said it was “not at all” likely that Trump will eventually be impeached.

The surveys come amid increasing chagrin from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party over Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCapitol riot defendants have started a jail newsletter: report On The Money: Biden asks Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration | Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure MORE’s (D-Calif.) hard line against impeachment proceedings.

In an interview on ABC’s "This Week," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Ocasio-Cortez, Bush criticize lack of diversity among negotiators on latest infrastructure deal Fetterman slams Sinema over infrastructure: 'Democrats need to vote like Democrats' MORE (D-N.Y.) said that frustration with Pelosi’s stance is "quite real."

"I think for me this question should not be about polls, it should not be about elections. I think that impeachment is incredibly serious and this is about the presence and evidence that the president may have committed a crime, in this case more than one," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) also spoke out against the failure to initiate impeachment proceedings in an interview that aired Sunday.

"Impeachment is incredibly important to get to the facts, to discover the truth, to make sure that there is accountability for the undermining of our democracy but also to send the signal that this can never happen again, to send the signal to Russia, to send the signal to Donald Trump, to send the signal to this country that we will save this democracy," he said on CNN’s "State of the Union."

In a press conference Thursday, Pelosi said that Trump’s comments lacked any “ethical sense” but reaffirmed her opposition to impeachment, saying she would not be swayed based on “any one issue,” instead using “a methodical approach to the path that we are on, and this will be included in that.”

“It’s about investigating. It’s about litigating. It’s about getting the truth,” she said.

Other members of the crowded Democratic presidential field who called for impeachment before Trump’s campaign interference remarks doubled down after he made the comments last week.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (D-Mass.) tweeted Wednesday night, “A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation. Now, he said he'd do it all over again. It's time to impeach Donald Trump.” 

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTreat broadband as infrastructure and we have a chance to get it right House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors To make energy green, remove red tape MORE (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, tweeted, “It’s time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings.”