Poll: Majority opposes Trump firing Rosenstein

Poll: Majority opposes Trump firing Rosenstein

A majority of American don’t want President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE to oust Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation Attorneys want Supreme Court to determine legality of Whitaker as acting AG Top Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' MORE, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Monday, as the two are expected to meet on the deputy attorney general’s fate.

Sixty percent of registered voters don’t want the president to fire Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s Russian probe and who, according to The New York Times, discussed wearing a wire to record the president. 

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A small majority of Republican respondents — 52 percent — believe Rosenstein should be fired, compared to 48 percent who don’t.

A little more than two-thirds of Democratic respondents don’t believe the deputy attorney general should lose his job. Some 65 percent of independents also don't think Rosenstein should be fired.

“[The] poll shows the president would be on shaky ground to outright fire Rosenstein before the midterms,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark Penn.

“He could order some investigation, review or special counsel to look into the issues at the FBI, CIA and [Department of Justice] — that is supported by wide majority.”

Rosenstein has been the frequent subject of criticism from Trump, who’s repeatedly railed against Mueller’s Russia investigation. The tension was heightened after the Times reported that Rosenstein suggested last year secretly recording Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him, which the deputy attorney general vehemently denies.

Rosenstein and Trump postponed a scheduled meeting last week amid the high-profile Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and one of his sexual assault accusers, Christine Blasey Ford.

Trump has signaled that he hopes Rosenstein remains in his job.

“My preference would be to keep him, and to let him finish up,” Trump told reporters last week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “I would much prefer keeping Rod Rosenstein.”

But it appears that the meeting could be delayed for a second time as Kavanaugh’s nomination remains in limbo.

"A date for that [meeting] hasn’t been set. It could be this week. I could see it pushing back another week given all the other things that are going on with the Supreme Court, but we’ll see." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on "Fox News Sunday."

In Monday's poll, Rosenstein has a negative favorability rating, with 26 percent who have a favorable opinion of him and 29 percent who have a negative opinion.

About a third of voters — 36 percent — believe that Mueller should take as much time as he needs on the Russia investigation. A little more than a quarter — 28 percent — believe Mueller should end the probe immediately.

And 63 percent of voters say that Mueller shouldn’t be fired.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,228 registered voters was conducted Sept. 26 to 27. Its partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 2 percent other.

The survey is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.