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Poll: Mueller approval rating jumps 11 points

A majority of registered voters approve of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and possible obstruction of justice charges against President Trump and members of his administration, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.

The poll revealed that 59 percent of registered voters approve of Mueller's investigation, marking an 11-point jump from respondents who said the same in a July Fox News poll. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they disapprove of Mueller's probe.

It is unclear whether some people were polled after news broke Tuesday that Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud and after the president's former longtime attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges, including one count of campaign finance violations.

The Cohen and Manafort developments marked a significant breakthrough for Mueller's investigation, putting Trump and his allies on the offensive. The conviction and guilty plea do not rule out the possibility of either former Trump associate cooperating with Mueller's probe in order to reduce potential jail sentences.

Manafort faces a second trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia next month on separate charges that include conspiracy, money laundering, failing to register as a foreign lobbyist and making false and misleading statements to federal agents.

Though Manafort's convictions focused almost exclusively on his personal finances, Cohen implicated the president in his guilty plea for campaign finance violations. Cohen said Trump directed him to make payments before the 2016 presidential election to women with whom he allegedly had affairs in order to buy their silence. 

Trump unloaded on the Mueller probe and Cohen Wednesday.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. 'Justice' took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' - make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a brave man!" Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

The president has attacked the investigation for months, repeatedly slamming it as a "witch hunt."

Amid concerns that Trump could fire the special counsel, Democrats have pushed for a bill to protect Mueller. Republicans have said such legislation is not necessary. 

The Fox News poll is based on live and telephone interviews with 1,009 registered voters from August 19 to 21. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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