Most Americans think Trump should talk to Mueller under oath

February 7, 2018

Despite the declassified memo gambit carried out last week by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-California) and the White House—in order to show a “clear link” between the Democrats and Russia during the 2016 election—there is bipartisan agreement among U.S. voters that President Donald Trump should agree to an interview, under oath, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding the Russia probe, according to findings of a Monmouth University Poll.

According to the research findings, released on February 1, most Americans believe recent reports that Trump tried to fire Mueller last summer and they support requiring judicial review before the president could dismiss a special counsel.

An overwhelming majority of Americans (71%) say that Trump should agree to be interviewed by Mueller about the Russia probe. This includes 85% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 51% of Republicans.  If Trump agrees to talk, more than 8-in-10 (82%) say he should do so under oath, including 93% of Democrats, 85% of independents, and 67% of Republicans.

“Democrats and Republicans, alike, say the president should sit down with Mueller, although they probably have very different reasons for wanting Trump to do this,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

A majority of the public (58%) believes that recent reports about Trump trying to fire Mueller last summer are likely true. Just 27% say these reports are not true.

There is partisan disagreement on this view, however. Most Democrats (84%) and independents (59%) put stock in these reports compared to just 30% of Republicans who believe they are true. Among those who have been following the news stories about Trump’s possible attempt to fire Mueller, 64% say the reports are true and 27% say they are not.

If Trump did in fact try to fire Mueller, 41% of the public feel this action rises to the level of an attempt to obstruct justice. while 44% say the president’s actions are less serious than that.

More than 6-in-10 Americans (62%) support requiring the approval of a panel of federal judges before any special counsel could be fired by the president or attorney general. Just 29% oppose this judicial check on the president’s ability to fire a special counsel.

This proposal is the basis of two bipartisan bills that have been introduced in Congress in response to the Russia probe. Most Democrats (76% support and 15% oppose) and independents (65% support and 27% oppose) favor this proposal. Republicans are divided at 44% support and 47% oppose.

“Bipartisan legislation to put a judicial check on the president’s ability to fire an independent investigator receives widespread support from Democrats and independents. However, Republicans are split down the middle, so it remains to be seen whether either of the special counsel protection bills will be brought to the floor for a vote,” said Murray.

Research contact: polling@monmouth.edu

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