What America's Thinking

Majority say Trump fired Sessions because he wanted loyal attorney general to oversee Mueller probe

A majority of registered voters say they believe President Trump fired Jeff Sessions because he wanted an attorney general who was loyal to him to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference, according to a new American Barometer survey. 

The poll, conducted by Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company, found that 66 percent of respondents said Trump fired Sessions in order to get a loyal attorney general to oversee the probe, while 34 percent said Sessions was fired because he was not an effective attorney general. 

The survey also revealed a partisan divide, with 61 percent of Republicans saying Sessions was fired because he was not an effective attorney general and 87 percent of Democrats saying he was fired because Trump wanted a loyal attorney general to oversee the investigation. 

"Sessions has always been in this back and forth place of where he should be, and what people expected he was going to be, but no surprise there that every Democrat's going to say that Trump wants someone more aligned to him," Republican pollster Conor Maguire told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking."

The poll comes less than a week after Trump requested Sessions's resignation and made Sessions's chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, to be acting attorney general. 

Democrats and Trump's critics have lambasted the move, pointing to Whitaker's past critical comments of Mueller's investigation. 

Trump himself has called the probe a "witch hunt" but has denied speculation that he appointed Whitaker to quash Mueller's probe. 

The American Barometer survey was conducted on Nov. 9 and 10 among 1,000 registered voters. The sampling margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. 

- Julia Manchester