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POLITICO: Dems see one last chance to boost public support for impeachment

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Washington, December 2, 2019 | comments
Dems see one last chance to boost public support for impeachment

BY HEATHER CAYGLE, SARAH FERRIS & KYLE CHENEY - 11/27/2019

House Democrats have one final shot to drive up public support for impeachment, with a slate of hearings in the House Judiciary Committee beginning next week.

But even Democratic lawmakers acknowledge public sentiment might be impossible to move in the weeks before an anticipated historic House vote on impeaching President Donald Trump.

“I think people have made up their minds on this in a lot of ways,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “But I think, frankly, what should drive us is the evidence and the facts and our oath of office.”

Many Democrats are skeptical that anything they do or say can further tick up backing for impeachment, keenly aware of polling this week showing that support has plateaued in the wake of an explosive set of House Intelligence Committee hearings that unearthed evidence suggesting an abuse of power by Trump.

About half the country backs impeachment, per recent polls, a high watermark but one that remained unchanged throughout the public hearings in November. Now Democrats say their primary goal is to finish building the case against Trump — mostly importantly through the upcoming Judiciary hearings — even if that’s not the tipping point many once hoped it would be.
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Just weeks from a likely impeachment vote, some Democrats acknowledge they may never convert the core group of supporters who have weathered crisis after crisis by Trump’s side.

“We’d all love to see it change, however we don’t expect it to,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Tuesday.

And it’s unclear what impact — if any — the Judiciary hearings will have in shaping public opinion. The first hearing on Dec. 4, announced Tuesday, will feature a slate of constitutional experts explaining what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors.

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