Updated | A new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll Thursday finds a majority of Americans think President Donald Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey was inappropriate, and that his dismissal means the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election will not be conducted fairly. The survey, which found a majority also think advisers to Trump had improper contact with Russians, was released on a day of fast-moving developments in the exploding relationship between the nation’s top law enforcement agency and the White House.
Trump canceled a planned visit to FBI headquarters after the agency told him he was “unlikely to be greeted warmly” in the wake of his firing of the director. And the Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey to appear at a closed-door hearing next Tuesday.
Also Thursday, FBI agents raided the Annapolis offices of a GOP fundraising outfit, Strategic Campaign Group, with links to Trump. The director, Kelley Rogers, has been employed by Penn National Gaming, a company with ties to the Trump Taj Mahal. The Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly has been looking into money laundering penalties levied against the Taj in 2015.
One of Strategic Campaign Group’s senior advisers, Dennis Whitfield, was a director of the political consulting firm started by Paul Manafort (a former Trump campaign chairman) and another longtime Trump adviser, Roger Stone, are reportedly under investigation for connections to Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
Rogers told The Washington Post he believed the raid on his office had to do with a legal disagreement between the firm and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who had accused the firm of raising $2.2 million for his 2013 gubernatorial campaign but failing to spend it on the campaign.
According to the NBC news poll conducted May 10-11, with a sample of 3,746 people, a majority (54 percent) think Trump’s dismissal of Comey was not appropriate (38 percent say it was appropriate), and 46 percent think Trump fired Comey due to his handling of the Russia investigation.
Fifty-five percent of respondents say Trump’s dismissal of Comey makes them less confident that the Russian investigation will be conducted fairly. And 54 percent said allegations that advisers to the Trump campaign had improper contact with Russian government officials is a serious issue that should be investigated.
Correction: This article has been corrected to say one of Strategic Campaign Group’s senior advisers, Dennis Whitfield, was a director of the political consulting firm started by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. An earlier version incorrectly said Whitfield was still a director.