A Quarter of Americans Believe Trump Acted Illegally With Russia (But Even More Believe Him)

Donald Trump
Donald Trump on December 8. The president has a habit of surrounding himself with close friends and family. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

A quarter of Americans believe President Donald Trump acted illegally over his campaign's alleged dealings with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, a new poll shows.

The Gallup poll, released on Wednesday, shows one in four respondents felt the president had acted illegally, while 37 percent of respondents believed he had acted unethically but not illegally. Thirty-five percent do not believe he did anything wrong.

And of the people surveyed, three quarters said they were paying close attention to the investigation and following news on the matter.

However, when the Russia probe is held up against polls taken on the actions of past presidents, a greater percentage of respondents polled believed Bill Clinton had acted illegally in the Whitewater real estate deal, with 29 percent believing that, while 42 percent believed Clinton had acted unethically but not illegally.

The probe into Russia's alleged involvement in the U.S. election, and into whether the Trump campaign had any links with Russia, has prompted ire from the president himself, who recently criticized the investigation and the attorney general in a number of tweets.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!" Trump tweeted on July 25, part of a series of messages about the attorney general.

The president also has called the Russia probe a "witch hunt" on a number of occasions, also telling a rally in West Virginia last week that the investigation was "fake news."

"The Russian story is a total fabrication, it is just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics," he said in comments carried by CNN. "That's all it is."

"Most people know there we no Russian in our campaign, there never were. We didn't win because of Russia, we won because of you. Are there any Russians here tonight? Any Russians?" he added.