Poll: Increasing number see Mueller probe as justified

Poll: Increasing number see Mueller probe as justified

More Americans say they believe special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is justified as opposed to being politically motivated, according to a new poll.

CBS News reports it is the first time this many Americans have felt that way since it began polling on the topic.

Fifty percent of Americans who responded to the survey conducted by CBS News said they now think the Russia investigation is justified, with 45 percent saying they think it is politically motivated.

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Although the numbers of those who feel the Mueller probe is justified are increasing, Democrats are fueling the surge.

Eighty-three percent of Republican respondents still say the Russia investigation is politically motivated, the same number as said that in November.

A majority of Democrats, 54 percent, and 63 percent of respondents overall say congressional Democrats should focus on passing legislation instead of investigating President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE.

Trump has repeatedly decried Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and has repeatedly denied any wrong doing related to alleged collusion with Russia.

Mueller’s probe is in its second year and was recently granted a six month funding extension.

Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents believe it's at least somewhat likely that Trump’s advisers had improper dealings with Russia in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

Forty-six percent of survey respondents said Trump has been too friendly with Russia, while 44 percent believe his approach has been about right.

The poll was conducted by SSRS for CBS News by telephone from January 18 to 21. It consisted of a random sample of 1,102 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.