Despite insistence by congressional Republicans that they are perfectly capable of investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, a new poll shows the overwhelming majority of voters completely disagree. And only a tiny sliver think there should be no investigation at all.
Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress keep trying to make questions about Russia’s involvement in our election go away, but so far, they are failing miserably.
A new NBC/WSJ poll shows that voters want an investigation, despite claims by various White House officials, and Trump himself, that the investigation “should be over.” But voters do not believe Congress is up to the task.
The poll asked respondents, “When it comes to an investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election,” would they rather see an investigation led by Congress, by an independent commission or special prosecutor, or neither.
An incredible 78 percent said they want an independent investigation. Even more worrisome for Trump is the mere 3 percent who said they want no investigation at all.
The poll is bad news for congressional Republicans as well.
Asked about confidence in Congress’ ability “to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election,” only 9 percent have a great deal of confidence. Meanwhile, 30 percent have no confidence at all, and 28 percent have “only a little confidence.”
In other words, Americans do not trust the Republican-controlled Congress to conduct this critical investigation.
The poll contains several other findings that should have Trump’s White House deeply concerned about its behavior of the past week. Nearly half of respondents — 46 percent — believe Trump fired FBI Director James Comey to impede the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference.
The original excuse, that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had recommended Comey’s firing, based on his handling of the investigation last year into Hillary Clinton’s emails, may have convinced a majority of Republicans, but Americans overall are not buying it.
Nor should they, considering that the administration’s story has changed repeatedly throughout the week.
Since Tuesday, we have learned directly from Trump that he intended to fire Comey, regardless of any recommendations from his Department of Justice. That, it turns out, was a poor decision for many reasons, including the fact that a majority of Americans disapprove of it.
Trump may well have obstructed justice by firing Comey, if the decision was indeed an attempt to shut down Comey’s investigation of Russia and the Trump campaign. As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday, Trump’s decision to fire Comey looks frighteningly like a “cover-up.”
Many other Democrats have said for months now that mounting evidence of election meddling, and the administration’s attempts to obstruct that investigation, proves the urgent need for an independent investigation. Clearly, the majority of Americans agree.