Most Americans favor an independent inquiry into Trump associates’ ties with Russia, poll shows

As questions swirl about the contact members of President Trump’s campaign had with Russians throughout the 2016 election, a majority of Americans favor an independent investigation, a new poll has found.

Fifty-two percent of Americans support such an inquiry, while 23% are opposed, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Saturday. Meanwhile, 22% said they neither favor nor oppose an investigation.

The poll, conducted March 23-27, surveyed nearly 1,100 voters and found stark partisan divides.

More than three-quarters of Democrats favor an independent investigation into ties between Russia and Trump and his campaign, compared with a quarter of Republicans who would like to see such an inquiry.

After last year’s election, intelligence officials announced that Russia sought to influence the election through hacking, which include attacks on the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems. On Capitol Hill, Democrats — and some Republicans — have called for an independent investigation, saying the congressional inquiries, particularly the House investigation, have been tainted by interference from the White House.

Last month, FBI Director James B. Comey announced his agency was conducting an investigation into any potential collusion between Trump’s campaign aides and Russian officials.

In recent weeks, some of Trump’s allies have faced scrutiny for their contacts with Russia.

Michael Flynn resigned as Trump’s national security advisor in February after it was revealed he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Last month, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, recused himself from overseeing any possible independent investigation, after it was revealed he met with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, on a few occasions. This came after Sessions, a staunch Trump ally during the campaign, told members of Congress at his confirmation hearing in January that he had no contacts with the Russians during the campaign.

Trump has denounced any questions surrounding Russia as “fake news” and a political “witch hunt” orchestrated by Democrats upset that they lost the 2016 election.

On Saturday, Trump used Twitter — as he often does — to voice his disdain for questions about Russia.

“It is the same Fake News Media that said there is ‘no path to victory for Trump’ that is now pushing the phony Russia story,” he tweeted. “A total scam!”

kurtis.lee@latimes.com

Twitter: @kurtisalee

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