Poll: Majority thinks senior Trump aides had improper contacts with Russians
© Camille Fine

A majority of Americans polled believe there were either definitely or probably improper contacts between Trump officials and Russia during the 2016 campaign, according to a Pew survey out Thursday.

Thirty percent of respondents said they believe there was definitely improper communications with Moscow, while another 29 percent said that such contacts probably occurred.

Eighteen percent believe there were probably no improper contacts, and 12 percent said there definitely were not.

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Democrats and Republicans were starkly divided in their beliefs on the issue.

Only 27 percent of Republican or Republican-leaning respondents said that they believed Trump officials either definitely or probably had improper contacts with Moscow during the campaign. Among Democratic and Democratic-leaning respondents, that number was 83 percent, according to the Pew poll.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

In a major development last week, Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the month before Trump took office. He also acknowledged that he is cooperating with Mueller's investigation.

According to the Pew survey, a slight majority of Americans are either very or somewhat confident that Mueller will handle the Russia investigation fairly. By comparison, 20 percent said they were not too confident and 16 percent were not at all confident in Mueller's ability to conduct a fair probe.

Trump has denied any improper contacts or collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, and has blasted Mueller's investigation as a political "witch hunt" propagated by Democrats as an excuse for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report Fox News host hits Giuliani: Dossier isn't why Mueller probe was started MORE's loss last year.

The Pew survey was conducted from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4, and is based on phone interviews with 1,503 U.S. adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Its margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.