Poll: Most think Trump firing Comey was not appropriate
A majority of Americans think it was not appropriate for President Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey, according to a new poll.
While 38 percent of respondents said ousting the director was appropriate, 54 percent said it was not, according to the NBC News/Survey Monkey online poll released Thursday.
A plurality of respondents, 46 percent, also said they believed Trump dismissed the FBI chief because of how he handled the investigation into Moscow’s interference in the election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
About a quarter of those polled, 24 percent, said they thought he was fired over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, while 22 percent chalked up the firing to being something else.
Trump told Comey in a letter Tuesday that he was following the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in firing the FBI chief.
Rosenstein had questioned Comey’s judgment and how he handled the investigation into Clinton’s private email server while she served as secretary of State.
While White House aides stressed on Tuesday and Wednesday that Trump leaned on the Justice Department memo in firing Comey, the president bucked that account Thursday, saying he would have fired the FBI chief “regardless of the recommendation.”
The NBC/Survey Monkey poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday.
“I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all,” Comey wrote in a letter to agents and friends on Wednesday that was reported by CNN. “I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed.”
Comey’s dismissal comes amid an ongoing investigation into whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Russian officials in order to sway the 2016 election in the favor of Trump.
A majority of respondents in the NBC/Survey Monkey poll, 55 percent, said they have less confidence in the Russia probe now that Comey is gone, while 36 percent said they have more confidence now.
Comey, who ruffled feathers of both Republicans and Democrats throughout his tenure, has been the subject of public scrutiny for the past year, primarily over his handling of the Clinton probe.
A majority of the survey takers disapproved of how Comey handled his top FBI position with 44 percent disapproving of his job, 25 percent approving and 28 percent saying they didn’t know enough to say.
Approval for how Comey handled the Russia investigation tied with the percentage of people who did not know enough to have an opinion at 34 percent, while 27 percent disapproved.
In comparison, 57 percent of survey takers disapproved of how Comey handled Clinton’s email investigation compared to a mere 19 percent approval, while 20 percent of participants didn’t know enough to have an opinion.
The online survey of 3,746 U.S. adults likely to vote was conducted May 10-11. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
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