Following reports President Donald Trump called for special counsel Robert Mueller to be fired last summer, the results of a Monmouth University Poll showed most Americans support legislation to put a judicial check on the president’s ability to fire an independent investigator.
Sixty-two percent of Americans said they would 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 percent oppose the proposal, which is the basis of two bipartisan bills that have been introduced in Congress in response to Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The proposal has widespread support among Democrats and independents, while Republicans are divided at 44 percent support and 47 percent oppose.
“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 Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The poll also found that 58 percent of Americans believe the reports about Trump trying to fire Mueller are “definitively” or “probably” true compared to 27 percent that say the reports are “definitively” or “probably” not true.
Eighty-four percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents say the reports are likely true, while just 30 percent of Republicans agree.
If Trump did try to fire Mueller, 41 percent said the action rises to the level of an attempt to obstruct justice versus 44 percent that view it as less serious.
Meanwhile, the poll found bipartisan agreement that Trump should agree to an interview with Mueller and do so under oath.
Murray said, “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.”
The Monmouth University survey of 806 adults was conducted January 28th through 30th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.