Chris White, DCNF
A slew of polls conducted in April show a shrinking level of support for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Recent polls from Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University and Maris indicate Americans are souring on the wide-ranging probe. People are starting to see Mueller’s investigation as unfair to President Donald Trump, two of the three also suggest.
Monmouth’s May 1 survey finds 54 percent of Americans believe the special counsel’s pursuit should continue, which is down from 60 percent in March and 62 percent in July. Nearly 43 percent think the investigation should end — up 10 points since last summer.
Support among independents for continuing the Russia investigation has declined from 63 percent in March to 54 percent in the new poll, indicating criticisms are catching beyond Trump’s die-hard conservative base. The results of Monmouth’s poll, which sampled 803 adults reached through cell phones and landlines, could raise red flags among Democrats hoping to court independents.
The Maris poll, meanwhile, from April 10-13 found 45 percent saying the Mueller investigation was “fair” to the president, down from a high point of 53 percent in February. A still-smaller 30 percent said Mueller’s investigation was “not fair.” Quinnipiac’s results are similar in scope.
A Quinnipiac poll released April 26 found 54 percent of registered voters saying Mueller was conducting a fair investigation, down from a high of 60 percent in November 2017, while 31 percent said it was unfair. All three polls come as Trump continues berating those he believes are responsible for tying him to the probe.
“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media,” the president wrote in a tweet the day Monmouth published its poll. “No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see … you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!”
Monmouth’s poll also comes on the heels of an April 30 New York Times report showing a list of questions Mueller is considering asking Trump — the bulk of which are centered around a potential obstruction of justice case against Trump.
Five questions relate to Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who was forced to resign on Feb. 13, 2017. Eighteen questions focus on James Comey, who Trump fired as FBI director on May 9, 2017. Eight questions center on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and 13 regard possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian government. Some legal analysts think the questions are overly broad.
Trump’s lawyers are in a worse position to prepare for an interview with Mueller than then-President Bill Clinton’s team was in the Whitewater investigation, according to Sol Wisenberg, a defense lawyer who was a deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation.
“It’s totally different than when President Clinton came into the grand jury room to talk to us,” Wisenberg told The New York Times in a May 1 interview. “He pretty much knew everything we knew. It was far less risky.”
He added, “This list reinforces the notion that the president should not go in for an interview with Mueller … Mueller knows all kinds of things — we don’t know exactly what he knows — and these are both broad and detailed questions, making real land mines.”
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