Narrow majority thinks the President attempted to interfere with investigation
Robert Mueller's approval rating holds steady over the last month
Almost 8 in 10 Americans say President Donald Trump should testify under oath if asked to do so for the investigation being run by special counsel Robert Mueller, including majorities across party lines, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.
Overall, 78% say Trump ought to testify in the inquiry focused on Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 US election if he is asked. That rises to 95% among Democrats, while standing at 75% among independents and 59% among Republicans.
The findings come after news that a member of Trump’s Cabinet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, answered questions from Mueller’s team for several hours last week. Other members of Trump’s inner circle are reported to have spoken with investigators working on the probe recently as well, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, White House communications director Hope Hicks and White House counsel Don McGahn. While the poll was in the field, news emerged that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon had agreed to speak with Mueller’s team as well.
The public is more closely divided on whether the President himself has attempted to interfere with the investigation: 51% say he has, 41% say he has not. The partisan divide on this question is especially sharp, with 83% of Democrats saying Trump has attempted to interfere with the investigation and 82% of Republicans saying he has not done so.
Those who say the President has interfered are most apt to think he ought to testify under oath (95% in that group say he should), but even among those who think the President has not tried to influence the investigation, a majority say he ought to testify if asked (59% say so).
Most of those polled continue to see the investigation into Russian efforts to influence the presidential election in 2016 as a serious matter that should be fully investigated (58% say so), though that figure has waned from a peak of 64% reached in November shortly after the first criminal charges to result from the investigation were announced.
The partisan divide on that question remains large, with 91% of Democrats and a majority of independents (54%) seeing the investigation as a serious matter worthy of full investigation, while 75% of Republicans say it’s mainly an effort to discredit Trump’s presidency. The shift since November comes among Republicans (from 28% “serious matter” then to 21% now) and independents (from 63% then to 54% now).
Approval ratings for Mueller’s handling of the Russia investigation have held steady at 47% over the last month; 33% disapprove and another 20% are unsure. Findings from the same poll that have already been released found approval ratings for the President’s handling of the investigation have also held steady since December and remain below Mueller’s ratings: 31% approve, 54% disapprove.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS on January 14-18 among a random national sample of 1,005 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. No interviewing was completed on January 16 due to weather conditions at call center locations. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.