Poll: Most Americans Still Think Trump Obstructed Justice

President Donald Trump speaks from the Rose Garden at the White House on Feb. 15, 2019.

(CN) – As President Donald Trump and the rest of the country await the impending release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, two new polls released Wednesday show most Americans believe the president obstructed justice and he continues to suffer from low approval ratings.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found about six in 10 Americans said they think Trump tried to obstruct Mueller’s investigation into whether anyone on his 2016 presidential campaign staff had improper connections to Russian officials.

Attorney General William Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress shortly after Mueller completed his report on March 22. In the letter, Barr said the nearly 400-page report “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

Barr, who critics claim hid the findings of the report, is set to release a redacted version of it on Thursday.

While the White House and right-wing media outlets were quick to say the report exonerated the president, Barr noted Mueller’s report said “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” as to the charge of obstruction. Barr declined to charge the president, saying that there was insufficient evidence.

“It’s a total phony,” Trump said in an interview with Minneapolis TV station KSTP. “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.”

A majority of Americans agree with congressional Democrats who have pushed for a full copy of the report. Sixty percent say Congress should receive the full and unredacted report, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

Michael Cook, a 40-year-old Democrat and video producer from Overland Park, Kansas, said he is still suspicious of Trump largely because Mueller’s report still hasn’t been released.

“I think he’s hiding something,” Cook said of Barr. “I want to see what evidence Mueller found, according to his own words.”

The same poll also shows 54% of respondents said Congress should stop looking into remaining concerns stemming from the Mueller investigation.

“The Mueller report is a double-edged sword. Most of the public wants Congress to see everything he dug up, but not necessarily do anything about it,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “This seems to be tied to a pervading sense that they are unlikely to learn anything about the Trump circle that would be all that out of character with what we’ve come to expect.”

In contrast to the Monmouth University poll, the AP-NORC poll shows 53% of Americans say Congress should continue investigations into Trump-Russia ties. Additionally, 35% said they think Trump did something illegal in relation to Russia.

Despite Barr’s letter, Trump continues to receive low approval ratings. Just 40% of Americans approve of the job he’s doing, according to Monmouth, while 54% disapprove. The president has not received an approval rating above 50 percent outside of conservative-leaning pollsters in his more than two years in office.

Less than two years away from the 2020 elections, Trump also has to deal with disapproval of the 2017 tax reforms. Only 34% said they approve of the tax cuts enacted by Republicans, who controlled the U.S. House of Representatives at the time. A larger number, 43%, said they disapproved of the plan, while almost half of those polled said they saw no changes to their tax burden.

“The perception may not match reality in terms of how many people actually got a tax reduction. While fears about a rising tax bill diminished after Americans filed their 2018 returns, very few report seeing any benefit from these reforms. This is not good news for a president who wanted to use this issue as a selling point for re-election,” said Murray.

The AP-NORC poll was conducted April 11-14 and surveyed 1,108 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent. The Monmouth University poll was conducted among 801 adults between April 11-15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

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