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Most See Crime in Justice, FBI ‘Coup’ Against Trump, Want Special Prosecutor

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Most voters say top Justice Department and FBI officials are likely to have acted criminally when they secretly discussed removing President Trump from office and think a special prosecutor is needed to investigate.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe senior federal law enforcement officials are likely to have broken the law in their discussions in May 2017 to oust Trump, with 37% who say it is Very Likely. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 36% consider that unlikely, with 19% who say it’s Not At All Likely that they broke the law. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-one percent (51%) think a special prosecutor should be named to investigate the discussions among senior Justice Department and FBI officials in May 2017 to remove the president from office. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree, but 11% are undecided.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters said in April of last year that a special prosecutor should be named to investigate whether senior FBI officials handled the investigations of Trump and Hillary Clinton in a legal and unbiased fashion.

Only 36% say no disciplinary action should be taken against the senior law enforcement officials who discussed removing the president from office. Twenty-one percent (21%) say they should be fired, while even more (25%) think they should be jailed. Twelve percent (12%) are calling for a formal reprimand of these officials.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 17-18, 2019 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.

By a 50% to 40% margin, voters think it’s likely senior federal law enforcement officials broke the law in an effort to prevent Trump from winning the presidency. As in virtually all surveys related to Trump, however, there is a wide difference of opinion between Democrats and Republicans.

For example, while 77% of Republicans - and 52% of voters not affiliated with either major party - think senior law enforcement officials are likely to have broken the law in their secret discussions to remove Trump from office, just 40% of Democrats agree.

GOP voters feel much more strongly than the others that the officials in question should be fired or reprimanded.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing say it’s Very Likely senior law enforcement officials broke the law in their discussions to remove the president from office. Among voters who Strongly Disapprove of Trump’s job performance, just 12% agree.

Sixty percent (60%) of voters who think it’s Very Likely senior law enforcement officials broke the law say they should go to jail.

The high-level discussions by Justice Department and FBI officials about removing Trump from office followed the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. But voters don’t rate Comey’s FBI performance too highly. Nearly two-out-of-three Republicans (65%) and a plurality (46%) of unaffiliated voters said Comey should be prosecuted for leaking to anti-Trump media while serving as FBI director. Just 29% of Democrats agreed.

Fifty percent (50%) of voters still say it is likely that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election, a matter that is the subject of investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director. But 51% think it’s unlikely that Mueller’s investigation will result in criminal charges against the president.

Democrats are hopeful that they can impeach Trump if election collusion with the Russians is proven, but just 27% of Democrats - and 16% of all voters - think the new Congress should focus first on impeachment.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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