A new survey reveals that a growing number of Democrats support impeaching President Donald Trump.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 48 percent of Democrats want Congress to begin impeachment hearings against Trump, compared to only 30 percent who said the same thing in May.
By contrast, only 22 percent of independents favor impeachment. Of those, 34 percent prefer that Congress continue investigating the president, and 44 percent oppose impeachment hearings. Among Republicans, 86 percent want Trump to complete his presidential term, and only 6 percent believe impeachment hearings should begin now.
Among the American public overall, the poll found that 27 percent believe there is sufficient evidence to immediately begin an impeachment hearing; 24 percent believe Congress should continue investigating to see if there is enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future; and 48 percent believe Congress should not impeach Trump and instead allow him to complete his current term.
On Sunday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appeared on the ABC News program "This Week" to discuss the growing movement among Democrats for impeaching Trump.
"Every day that passes, the pressure to impeach grows, and I think that it's justifiable," Ocasio-Cortez said to anchor Jonathan Karl. "I think the evidence continues to come in, and I believe that with the president now saying that he is willing to break the law to win re-election that — that goes — that transcends partisanship. It transcends party lines, and this is now about the rule of law in the United States of America."
When Karl raised concerns about whether Democrats could pay a political price for impeaching the president, Ocasio-Cortez argued that there were bigger issues to consider.
"I think for me this question has — should not be about polls. It should not be about elections," Ocasio-Cortez continued. "I think that — that impeachment is incredibly serious, and this is about the presence in evidence that the president may have committed a crime, in this case more than one. And so I believe that — that our decision on impeachment should be based in our constitutional responsibilities and duties — and not in elections or polling."
She added, "That being said, with the increase in polls, I think the American people are now recognizing in a much broader scale the depth and the severity of the misconduct coming out of the White House, and a demand to protect our institutions and protect the rule of law in the United States and at least opening an inquiry into possible misconduct."
Because Democrats control the House of Representatives, it is quite likely that Trump could be successfully impeached in the lower chamber. The challenge, however, would be getting the Senate to convict him. Not only is that body controlled by Republicans, but because a two-thirds majority must support forced removal from office, 20 Republicans in total would have to turn against a president from their own party.
Despite these concerns, many Democrats feel that Trump's alleged crimes are so serious that impeachment is a moral necessity. Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that there was some ill will among progressive Democrats toward Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for refusing to move forward with impeachment, although she told Karl these were "family conversations" that had to be "held in confidence."