Most Republicans believe FBI, Justice Department trying to 'delegitimise' Trump

US President Trump delivers a speech on tax reform after touring Sheffer Corporation in Blue Ash outside Cincinnati, Ohio, on Feb 5, 2018.
PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Nearly three out of four Republicans believe the FBI and Justice Department are trying to undermine US President Donald Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday (Feb 5), a sharp turn for a party that has historically backed law enforcement agencies.

Overall, most of the public still believes that Mr Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election, allegations that Moscow and Mr Trump have repeatedly denied.

The Feb 3-5 poll found that Americans were sharply divided along party lines over an effort by Mr Trump and his Republican allies to discredit a federal investigation into potential ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia.

Some 73 per cent of Republicans agreed that "members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimise President Trump through politically motivated investigations".

The same proportion of Democrats said they believed a competing narrative that "members of the Republican Party and the White House are working to delegitimise the FBI and DOJ in the investigation of Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election".

The poll findings show the influence Mr Trump wields among Republicans, who have long reserved some of their highest levels of trust for the country's law enforcement agencies.

Nearly 84 per cent of Republicans said in a January 2015 Reuters/Ipsos poll that they had a "favourable" view of the FBI.

Some 55 per cent of Republicans said last month they had a "great deal" of confidence in the country's law enforcement agencies - well above the 30 per cent who expressed a similar level of confidence in the Trump administration and 9 per cent who said the same about Congress.

The poll showed, however, that the public did not appear to have changed its mind about the Russia investigation.

Fifty-two per cent of all adults said in the latest poll that they believed Mr Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 US election and that it was likely "authorities will find evidence of an illegal relationship between the Trump administration and Russia".

Those percentages have not changed since the last time the poll asked those questions in 2017.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English across the United States. It gathered responses from 2,251 adults, including 941 Democrats and 827 Republicans, and had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2 percentage points for the entire sample and 4 percentage points for both the Republicans and Democrats.

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