Thelast month opened up a floodgate of questions about President Trump and the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee during his testimony tomorrow. But on the eve of that high-profile appearance, what do Americans think about the controversy?
A CBS News poll in March found that 50 percent of Americans believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Forty percent said Russia interfered to help Mr. Trump, while 10 percent said the Russians interfered, but not necessarily to help Mr. Trump. Thirty-seven percent say there was no interference. There was a deep partisan split: only 26 percent of Republicans said Russia interfered in the election, compared to 74 percent of Democrats.
Apoll released in May found that 44 percent of respondents describe the Russia investigation as "critical to national security," while 32 percent of respondents believe the investigation is a "witch hunt." Twenty-three percent said it's "serious, but shouldn't get in the way of other things." Again, the partisan divide was evident – a huge majority of Republicans polled called the investigation a witch hunt, while an even bigger majority of Democrats said it's a critical national security issue.
On the subject of Comey's firing, most Americans believe the move was poorly timed. Sixty percent of respondents in the Nation Tracker poll, mostly Democrats, said the president should not have fired Comey when he did, while 40 percent, mostly Republicans, disagreed.
Comey reportedly authored several memos during his time serving under Mr. Trump alleging that the president tried to get him to halt his investigation. Forty-eight percent of Nation Tracker respondents said they believe Mr. Trump was aiming to stop the investigation when he talked with Comey, while 37 percent said the two men "just talked about it." Fifteen percent said Mr. Trump and Comey didn't discuss the investigation at all. Republicans were far more likely than Democrats to say the subject didn't come up.
Trump, in response to Comey's reported memos, suggested he had tapes of his conversations with Comey. According to the Nation Tracker poll, approximately three quarters of Americans would like both the tapes and the memos to be turned over to Congress (slightly more would like to see the tapes.)
And broadly speaking, by a nearly two-to-one margin, Americans disapprove of the way Mr. Trump has handled the controversy. Sixty-three percent of Americans, including 21 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats, registered their disapproval in the Nation Tracker poll. Only 37 percent -- 79 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats -- said they approve of the president's handling of matters related to the investigation.
All of this comes while President Trump's approval rating continues to hover at or below 40 percent. According to a new Economist/YouGov poll, the President's approval rating is 40 percent, with 56 disapproval. And a Gallup poll released Wednesday puts the president's approval at 38 percent, and his disapproval at 57 percent.
The CBS News Poll took place between March 25 and March 28, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. The CBS News Nation Tracker took place between May 15 and May 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent. The Gallup poll surveyed 1,500 adults between June 4 and June 6, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. The Economist/YouGov survey polled 1,500 adults between June 4 and June 6, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent.