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10% of Americans undecided on impeachment, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland believes

Most Americans have firm opinions about the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, but there remains a sliver – maybe 10% – for whom the Senate trial could prove conclusive, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says. Hoyer speaks Monday during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. In this Jan. 7, 2020, photo, Hoyer speaks to Maryland Democrats at a lunch.
Most Americans have firm opinions about the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, but there remains a sliver – maybe 10% – for whom the Senate trial could prove conclusive, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says. Hoyer speaks Monday during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. In this Jan. 7, 2020, photo, Hoyer speaks to Maryland Democrats at a lunch.(Amy Davis)

Most Americans have firm opinions about the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, but there remains a sliver — maybe 10% — for whom the U.S. Senate trial could prove conclusive, U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday.

The Southern Maryland Democrat said in an interview that he believes 40% of the public is firmly on the Republican president’s side, and another 50% is of the mind that Trump “can’t do anything to make me believe he’s right.”

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But, Hoyer continued, that leaves “about 10% who I think are sort of, ‘Well, you know, I may not like what he does, but he’s done some good things. So, I’m going to look at this, but I want to find out whether he’s committed a crime.’”

The Senate trial officially opened Thursday with the reading of articles of impeachment on the Senate floor and the swearing in of senators who will be jurors. The proceedings resume Tuesday.

The impeachment articles allege Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress.

The first article alleges Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine — and the prospect of a state visit to Washington by Ukraine’s president — to pressure its government to announce an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Biden’s son, Hunter, was on the board of a gas company in Ukraine.

The second article alleges the president defied the impeachment inquiry by directing officials not to cooperate with congressional subpoenas.

Senators took an oath swearing to act impartially as they review the evidence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has said previously that the impeachment case against Trump is a partisan political exercise and he will work with the White House during the proceedings.

Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said Republicans will do the nation a disservice if they violate their oath.

“If the jury has already made up its determination, they’re not really qualified to sit on a jury,” said Hoyer, an attorney.

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“Frankly, if you’re a Republican you say, ‘Well, the Democrats aren’t impartial either, they all think he’s guilty.’ And that may be true, but at least all of them are prepared to hear more evidence, including from the president.”

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