Shock poll: GOP turns on FBI

Data: SurveyMonkey poll, Feb. 1-2. Poll methodology. Chart: Axios Visuals

President Trump’s hammering on the FBI — and green-lighting yesterday of the Russia memo’s release over Bureau objections — is having a profound effect:

A SurveyMonkey poll for Axios finds that not even 40% of Republicans approve of America’s main federal law enforcement agency — a stunning turn for the law-and-order party.

  • Why it matters: Trump, who earlier turned a huge swath of Republicans toward more favorable opinions of Russia, has now turned his party against his own FBI.
  • The numbers: FBI approval in the SurveyMonkey Poll, taken over the past two days, is 64% among Democrats and just 38% among Republicans. Unfavorable opinion of the FBI: 47% in the GOP; 14% among Ds.
  • As you see below, overall opinion of the FBI fell over the past year in the two polls we compared, likely driven entirely by falling approval from Rs.

Be smart: The stark new Republican skepticism of the FBI means that Trump has succeeded in preemptively undermining the findings of special counsel Bob Mueller.

  • Many Republicans will now see Mueller’s report or recommendations as a political document, and the conservative media will portray it that way.
  • It’s the great muddying we have been telling you about since December.
  • This is a massive swing from the initial bipartisan accolades for Mueller.
  • When the special counsel was named last May, Newt Gingrich tweeted: “Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. Media should now calm down.”
Data: SurveyMonkey poll, Feb. 1-2. Poll methodology. Pew Research Center poll, Jan. 5-8, 2017. Chart: Axios Visuals

P.S. “Though President Trump and his allies hope the controversial release of a GOP-written memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI will tarnish the legitimacy of the entire Russia probe, that argument may be undercut by a single sentence buried near the end of the four-page document,” per the WashPost:

  • The memo says in its final paragraph: “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.”
  • Why it matters: “[T]he FBI did not seek authorization to conduct surveillance on [Carter] Page [invoking the dossier] until three months later.”

“Deputy attorney general’s job may be in jeopardy,” the WashPost’s Sari Horwitz reports:

  • “Rod J. Rosenstein’s tenure as deputy attorney general and the top Justice Department official overseeing the Russia investigation appears to be in peril after President Trump refused to say … whether he had confidence in him.”
  • “After Trump authorized release of [the] memo, … he was asked by a reporter whether he was more likely to fire Rosenstein.”
  • Trump replied: “You figure that one out.”

(Excerpted from Axios 2/3/18)