Voters suspect the FBI is hiding something and think a special prosecutor is needed to see if the nation’s top cops have been playing politics.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters believe a special prosecutor should be named to investigate whether senior FBI officials handled the investigation of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump in a legal and unbiased fashion. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree, but a sizable 19% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans are calling for an outside prosecutor to investigate the FBI, as is a plurality (49%) of voters not affiliated with either major political party. Among Democrats, 38% favor a special prosecutor; 40% are opposed, but 22% are undecided.
The FBI has told Congress that it is unable to retrieve about five months of high-level text messages from the period in 2016 when it was determining whether to seek an indictment of Clinton. The messages are to and from an agent who is already being investigated for anti-Trump bias and was a top player on special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russians.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of all voters think it is likely that the FBI or the agent in question destroyed those messages to hide something from investigators. Thirty percent (30%) consider that unlikely. This includes 40% who say it’s Very Likely the messages were deliberately destroyed versus 13% who say it’s Not At All Likely. Another 13% are not sure.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 22-23, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Voters by a narrow 48% to 41% margin said in December that senior federal law enforcement officials broke the law in an effort to prevent Trump from winning the 2016 election.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans think it is Very Likely that the FBI or the agent involved destroyed high-level text messages from the period in 2016 when the FBI was deciding whether to seek an indictment of Clinton. Just 21% of Democrats and 38% of unaffiliated voters agree.
Younger voters are less convinced of that than their elders are.
Seventy percent (70%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Trump is doing think a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the FBI. Among those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance, only 36% agree.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters who favor a special prosecutor think the FBI is Very Likely to be hiding something. Even among those opposed to a special prosecutor, just 22% say it’s Not At All Likely that the FBI deliberately destroyed the messages in question.
Sixty-four percent (64%) of all voters think Clinton is likely to have broken the law by sending and receiving e-mails containing classified information through a private e-mail server while serving as secretary of State.
Less than three weeks before the election, most voters (53%) still disagreed with the FBI’s decision not to seen an indictment of the Democratic presidential nominee, but only 44% felt that way after she lost the election.
A sizable number of voters, including two-out-of-three Republicans, said last June that former FBI Director James Comey should be punished for leaking to the media.
Congressional Democrats say the increasing focus on FBI wrongdoing is merely intended to undercut Mueller. But 50% of voters consider it unlikely that Mueller’s investigation will lead to criminal charges against Trump. Thirty-nine percent (39%) disagree and say it’s likely.
Seventy-two percent (72%) of Democrats feel the Mueller investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election is an honest attempt to determine criminal wrongdoing. But 54% of Republicans think it’s a partisan witch hunt.