Reflecting the national media’s scant coverage of the Spygate scandal, only 3 in 10 Americans say they are aware that a special prosecutor is investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia “collusion” probe, according to a nationwide survey conducted this month by TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP).
But of those who say they know of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation, most say they want him to get to the bottom of whether the FBI opened investigations into several Trump campaign advisers during the 2016 election without proper “predication.”
Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents say they want the Justice Department to renew Durham’s budget for another fiscal year, the TIPP poll found, and a whopping 81 percent want the department to release his final report to the public.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee, holds the purse strings to Durham’s investigation. He also has authority over whether his report will be made public.
“Americans who know of the Durham investigation have a keen interest in it,” said Raghavan Mayur, president of New Jersey-based TIPP. “Regardless of party or ideology, the majority of them want the attorney general to continue the investigation and release the report to the public. We found unanimous consent there.”
A surprisingly high share of Democrats—68 percent—agreed with Republicans and Independents that Durham’s budget should be renewed, while 82 percent of Democrats agreed his report should be released in full.
“It’s very interesting to see Democrats also are very interested in the results of the investigation,” Mayur said.
Known as a tough, nonpartisan prosecutor, Durham earlier this year resigned from his post as U.S. attorney for Connecticut to lead the Special Counsel’s Office case full-time. Richard Blumenthal and the other Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, have both praised Durham as a “fierce and fair prosecutor.”
The so-called Russiagate investigation of Trump and his aides began under the Obama administration. After Justice’s inspector general in 2019 exposed FBI abuses of the top secret FISA surveillance program to spy on at least one Trump aide, former Attorney General Bill Barr appointed Durham to conduct a criminal probe.
Earlier this year, the special counsel secured a felony conviction of top FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who doctored an internal email critical to obtaining a FISA warrant to continue spying on former Trump adviser Carter Page. And last month, Durham indicted former top Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann for making a false report to the FBI linking Trump to Russia. Sussmann denies the charges and is fighting them in court.
TIPP asked the subset of survey respondents who said they were aware of Durham’s case if they think he should also question Hillary Clinton and her former top campaign officials—specifically, Jake Sullivan—as part of his investigation. Sixty percent answered yes to interviewing Clinton, while 58 percent said they wanted to see Sullivan and other Clinton aides questioned before the federal grand jury Durham’s impaneled in D.C.
Sullivan is now serving in the White House as Biden’s national security adviser. His wife, Maggie Goodlander, formerly clerked for Garland when he was a federal judge, posing a potential conflict of interest for the attorney general as he oversees Durham’s work—particularly as it relates to Sullivan, who is referenced in the Sussmann indictment.
Garland and Goodlander have a close personal relationship. Last year, they exchanged warm sentiments during an interview conducted by Goodlander, then a law professor at the University of New Hampshire.
“One of the real joys and benefits of being able to clerk for you was to have an insider’s view on how you do your job,” Goodlander gushed. “You can ask me as many questions as you want, Mag!” Garland said.
When asked at his Senate confirmation if he would commit to providing Durham with the time and budget needed to complete his investigation, Garland declined to do so.
According to the TIPP poll, 80 percent of Republicans think Durham should question Clinton as part of his investigation, followed by 74 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats. Meanwhile, nearly three-fourths of GOP respondents say Sullivan and other senior Clinton advisers should be interviewed by investigators, and 68 percent of independents agree. Among Democrats, 46 percent said they want to see Sullivan and other Clinton aides questioned.
The national survey also asked whether Durham should question former President Obama as part of his investigation. Of respondents who say they’re aware of the special counsel’s probe, 73 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats answered yes.
Obama was engaged in the Russiagate investigation’s progress. During the 2016 campaign, both the FBI and CIA briefed him about it. After the election, he held a high-level White House meeting to discuss investigating Trump and his advisers. In fact, he ordered then-FBI Director James Comey to “look at things” and put “the right people” on the case.
What about his vice president? Biden attended the high-level January 2017 meeting and even offered the FBI a pretext to investigate ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who Trump had nominated as his national security adviser.
The vast majority of Republicans (70 percent) and independents (62 percent) want Durham to question Biden about his own role in the investigation of Trump. Democrats are less eager to see the head of their party dragged into the investigation. Only 36 percent said they want to see Biden interviewed.
Asked if they want Durham to question Clinton, Sullivan, Obama and Biden, the majority of Republicans (58 percent) and independents (51 percent) chose “all of them,” compared with just 16 percent of Democrats. Overall, 33 percent of respondents said they want them all questioned.
“The data show more grassroots support for Durham’s investigation than the media has reported,” Mayur said in an interview. “It appears to be a matter of great import to Americans, regardless of party affiliation,” at least for the 31 percent of Americans who are aware of what Durham has been doing.
The pollster explained that “Americans want to have faith in and respect for the FBI. When there is a smidgen of irregularity, they want it exposed. They likely see a thorough Durham investigation settling the issue and putting closure to questions about the origins of the Russia probe.”
He conducted the Durham investigation survey from Sept. 29 through Oct. 2, polling 1,308 American adults.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.