President Donald Trump may think his finances should be off limits to special investigators looking into Russian election meddling, but respondents to a new CNN poll released Thursday morning disagree: 70 percent of those polled said the president’s finances should be fair game.
Asked by reporters during an interview last month if special prosecutor Robert Mueller would cross a “red line” by investigating Trump’s personal finances or those of his family, the president said such steps would be “a violation.” He would not say whether or not such investigatory moves would prompt him to fire Mueller “because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
But among those polled, just 25 percent said they agree with the president’s stand on the limits of Mueller’s investigation, while 70 percent said Trump’s finances ought to be part of the ongoing probe. Sixty percent of respondents characterized the issues involved in the probe as “a serious matter that should be fully investigated” while 38 percent said the Russia investigations are “mainly” intended to discredit the Trump administration.
The president’s handling of the investigation, which he has referred to regularly as a “witch hunt,” also received poor marks from those polled: 59 percent said they disapprove of his handling of the probe, while just 31 percent said they approve of it.
Among Trump’s top complaints about the investigation has been Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from it, a move he made after media reports that he had met multiple times during the 2016 campaign with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. and did not disclose those meetings during his Senate confirmation hearings. The president has been vocal about his frustration with Sessions over the decision, but respondents to the CNN poll favored the move, with 67 percent saying the attorney general did the right thing.
In a separate poll released Wednesday and conducted by Gallup, 25 percent of respondents said they believe the president acted illegally in his dealings with Russia, while 37 percent characterized his actions as unethical and 35 percent said he did nothing wrong.
The Gallup poll was conducted from Aug. 2-6, reaching 1,017 adults nationwide via landlines and cell phones. The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 4 points.
The CNN poll was conducted in conjunction with SSRS from Aug. 3-6, reaching 1,018 adults nationwide on landlines and cell phones in both English and Spanish. The margin of error was plus-or-minus 3.6 points.