FYI To Congressional Republicans: Most Americans Want A Special Trump-Russia Prosecutor
The Trump administration may want to change the topic and move on from these Russia allegations, but Americans don't feel the same way. According to a poll conducted by CNN and ORC International that was released Monday, most Americans want a special prosecutor investigating Trump's alleged Russia ties. Specifically, 65 percent of Americans would like Congress to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the connections between the campaign and Russia. What else can so many Americans agree on? The list isn't long.
Besides appointing a special prosecutor to oversee a probe, the other option would be letting Congress handle the matter itself, as is currently the plan. Some 32 percent of Americans prefer that, a small minority. Having the FBI do it would be yet another option. However, after last week's Washington Post report revealing that the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had not disclosed his contact last year with the Russian ambassador, it further complicated that plan. The CNN/ORC poll was conducted as the Sessions news came to light, and the following days.
In addition to calling for a special prosecutor, the poll showed that 55 percent of Americans are somewhat or very concerned about Russia's role in influencing the 2016 election. And 70 percent of Americans think it's somewhat, very, or extremely likely that Russia did work to influence the election — as the intelligence community's assessment alleges.
Trump has notably been less than enthusiastic about the findings from the intelligence community and only admitted that Russia likely had a role in pre-election hacks in January a month after the reports first came out.
Over the weekend, Trump called for a Congressional investigation into alleged wiretaps performed by the Obama administration, with no credible evidence to support his claims.
However, the Trump administration is trying to link the unfounded wiretapping allegations to concerns about Russia. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Sunday that Trump's requested inquiry could be tied into the larger Russia-Trump investigation. He said that Trump is "requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016."
Whether these issues are investigated are not up to Trump but rather Congress (or Sessions himself). And since so many Americans would like a special prosecutor, it might be a good political move for Congress, whose approval ratings just got a bump — from really low lows to just really low. In Monday's poll Congress received an approval rating of 28 percent, which was up from 20 percent in January. Perhaps appointing a special prosecutor could move that even higher.