A majority of Americans believe the FBI exhibited political bias in its handling of its high-profile investigations involving President Trump and his 2016 Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll.
The survey of 1,058 registered voters conducted by the HarrisX polling company for Hill.TV’s public opinion show “What America’s Thinking” found that 62 percent of Americans believe that the FBI was biased in its handling of the high-profile investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of State.
Thirty-eight percent believed that bias favored Clinton, while 24 percent thought the bias hurt the former Democratic presidential nominee.
A similar percentage of Americans, 59 percent, said they believed the FBI also suffered from bias in the Trump probe, but more believed the president was hurt by that bias.
Thirty-eight percent said they believed the FBI had been biased against Trump, while 21 percent said it had worked in the president’s favor, the poll found.
The Justice Department inspector general (IG) recently reported a number of anti-Trump comments in private texts and emails among a handful of FBI officials who worked on the cases, but concluded there was no evidence those political sentiments affected official actions on the Clinton case.
The internal watchdog is still investigating whether any biases affected agents’ action in the Trump-Russia case.
FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered employees to undergo anti-bias training after the IG report was released in mid-June, but suggested any bias issues were limited to a handful of employees.
“Nothing in this report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole or the FBI as an institution,” he said last month.
But Trump defenders have sought to portray the FBI’s inquiry into the president’s conduct in 2016 and 2017 as unfair, citing the text messages from current and former FBI officials.
Democrats have criticized former FBI director James Comey for violating agency protocol by repeatedly making public statements about the Clinton email investigation during the 2016 campaign.
“As we looked at 2016 and what happened with the FBI, as we’ve gotten more and more information, I believe intentions are certainly always good, but like in any Washington bureaucracy, you’re going to have folks do or say things that maybe they shouldn’t have,” Ashlee Rich Stephenson, a Republican pollster, said during Tuesday’s episode of “What America’s Thinking.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States from July 29-30, 2018 among 1,058 registered voters by HarrisX. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 3.01 percentage points.
The results reflect a nationally representative sample of registered voters. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, political party, political ideology, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.