Many Aren't Exonerating Trump in Russia Probe
Many Americans aren't ready to clear President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation, with a new poll showing slightly more want Congress to keep investigating than to set aside its probes after a special counsel's report left open the question of whether he broke the law.
About 6 in 10 continue to believe the president obstructed justice.
The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds greater GOP confidence in the investigation after Attorney General William Barr in late March released his letter saying special counsel Robert Mueller found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but didn't make a judgment on the obstruction question.
At the same time, the poll indicates that Americans are mostly unhappy with the amount of information that has been released so far. They'll get more Thursday, when Barr is expected to release a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report.
Trump has repeatedly claimed "total exoneration," after Barr asserted in his memo that there was insufficient evidence for an obstruction prosecution.
"It's a total phony," Trump said of all allegations to Minneapolis TV station KSTP this week. "Any aspect of that report, I hope it does come out because there was no collusion, whatsoever, no collusion. There was no obstruction, because that was ruled by the attorney general."
Overall, 39 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, roughly unchanged from mid-March, before Mueller completed his two-year investigation.
But many Americans still have questions.
"It's kind of hard to believe what the president says as far as exoneration," said James Brown, 77, of Philadelphia, who doesn't affiliate with either party but says his political views lean conservative. "And in my mind the attorney general is a Trump person, so he's not going to do anything against Trump."
The poll shows 35 percent of Americans think that Trump did something illegal related to Russia — largely unchanged since the earlier poll. An additional 34 percent think he's done something unethical.
Brown says he remains extremely concerned about possible inappropriate contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, citing Trump's past interest in building a Trump Tower in Moscow, and believes the president committed crimes of obstruction to cover up financial interests. "He's not going to jeopardize his pocketbook for anything," he said.
Still, the poll suggests Barr's summary helped allay some lingering doubts within the GOP. Among Republicans, more now say Trump did nothing wrong at all (65 percent vs. 55 percent a month ago) and fewer say he did something unethical (27 percent, down from 37 percent).