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Half in new poll say Trump tried to stay in office through illegal means

(The Hill) – Half of U.S. adults believe former President Trump planned to remain in the presidency through illegal and unconstitutional activities, according to a new CBS News-YouGov poll.

Three in ten respondents believed Trump planned to stay in office through legal means, while two in 10 believed he did not plan to stay.

But the poll found that among Republicans, just 13 percent believed Trump planned to stay through illegal means. Half of Republicans said he was using legal processes to remain in the presidency, while more than a third — 37 percent — said he did not plan to stay.

Half of Republicans still call the events of Jan. 6 “patriotism” and 70 percent of Republicans still say President Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted in the wake of public hearings held by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is pursuing its own investigation.

Forty-six percent said they believed the House panel should recommend DOJ charge Trump with crimes, while 31 percent said the committee should recommend Trump not be charged. Twenty-three percent said the panel should not make a recommendation either way.

The poll found that those views were split on partisan lines. Eight in ten Democrats said they think the committee should recommend criminal charges, compared to 44 percent of independents and 8 percent of Republicans.

The question of referring criminal charges has become a point of disagreement among some members of the committee.

The panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said earlier this month that the panel would not be issuing formal criminal referrals to DOJ, but Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel’s vice chair, soon after said the question of referrals remained unresolved.  

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), another member of the panel, said last week that DOJ has to make its own decision.

Meanwhile, more Democrats watching from the sidelines are calling on the committee to make a criminal referral for Trump.

The poll found that Americans were evenly split on whether they thought charging Trump with crimes for Jan. 6 would help strengthen democracy in the United States.

Thirty-nine percent said clearing Trump of wrongdoing for the events of that day would help strengthen the country’s democracy.

The poll was conducted between June 22 and 24 through interviews with 2,265 U.S. adult residents. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

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