Republican voters have soured on the FBI, according to a new poll conducted in the midst of President Trump’s criticism of the law enforcement agency.
Just 38 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the FBI, according to a SurveyMonkey poll conducted for Axios, compared to 47 percent who have an unfavorable view. The survey was conducted over the last two days, as the House Intelligence Committee released a memo revealing that the FBI convinced a court to allow them to spy on a Trump campaign aide in part by citing a controversial dossier that contained unverified allegations.
"This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe,” the president tweeted Saturday morning. “But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on.”
House Democrats countered that the memo actually buttressed the case for investigating Trump’s team.
“The most important fact disclosed in this otherwise shoddy memo was that FBI investigation began July 2016 with your advisor, Papadopoulos, who was secretly discussing stolen Clinton emails with the Russians,” Calif. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, tweeted in response to Trump.
George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy advisor to Trump’s presidential campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with an intermediate who “had substantial connections to Russian government officials,” according to court documents.
“The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok,” the memo said.
But the memo also confirms suspicions that Carter Page, whom Trump cited as an adviser despite his apparently limited contact with the campaign, came under FBI surveillance in part due to a dossier replete with “salacious and unverified” claims, as then-Director James Comey described it.
“The ‘dossier’ compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page [surveillance] application,” the memo said.
That has led some of Trump’s defenders to call for an end to an investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who inherited the Russia probe after Trump fired Comey.
“[T]here is no Mueller investigation without the dossier," Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton said Friday on Fox News. "So the whole thing is subject to really, I think, being called off now by the Justice Department, if they are brave enough, based on these disclosures today.”