Majority Say Officials Who Broke Law to Target Trump Should Be Jailed or Fired: Survey

December 16, 2019 Updated: December 18, 2019

Fifty-two percent of likely voters surveyed by Rasmussen Reports think senior federal law enforcement officials broke the law to block President Donald Trump in 2016, but even more doubt they will ever be punished.

According to Rasmussen on Monday, 55 percent say that their being punished is unlikely, which includes 36 percent who believe that is very unlikely.

Those numbers were unchanged from results Rasmussen got in response to the same questions in February. There was one big change from the earlier numbers, though.

“A plurality (43 percent) thinks these officials should be jailed if they are found guilty of breaking the law to prevent a Trump presidency, up dramatically from 25 percent earlier this year,” Rasmussen said. That’s an 18-point increase since February.

“Another 22 percent think they should just be fired. Fifteen percent favour a formal reprimand. Just 11 percent say no disciplinary action should be taken.

“Eighty percent of voters who strongly approve of the job Trump is doing think it’s very likely that senior federal law enforcement officials attempted illegally to deny him the presidency.

“Among voters who strongly disapprove of the president’s job performance, only 9 percent agree.”

The Rasmussen survey results follow last week’s release of the long-delayed report by Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz concerning how approval was obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court for the FBI to spy on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Horowitz described 17 examples of how DOJ and FBI officials committed “basic and fundamental errors” in seeking four separate warrants for the surveillance of Page, who was only a campaign volunteer.

The 17 errors “were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations,” involved with investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump and Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Horowitz said.

Three of the most prominent FBI officials connected with the FISA warrant applications were subsequently fired or resigned: Former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.

During testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Horowitz was asked by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) if “a lawyer at the FBI creates fraudulent evidence, alters an email that is in turn used as the basis for a sworn statement to the [FISA] court that the court relies on. Am I stating that accurately?”

Horowitz replied, “that’s correct. That is what occurred.” He was referring to one of the 17 instances, which was FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith’s alleged altering of an email that was crucial to obtaining approval of the third FISA warrant to continue spying on Page.

How to respond to FBI violations presents officials with thorny problems, according to Brian Darling, former counsel to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and chief of Liberty Government Affairs.

“The FISA procedures were broken and Carter Page’s privacy was violated, therefore something should happen to remedy the situation,” Darling told The Epoch Times on Dec. 16.

Darling said leaders of both parties in Congress have failed to enact reforms needed “to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans.  There is a problem with the law, more so than the people at the FBI.”

The FISA process was established in 1978 in response to surveillance abuses by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

“I worry that if the government scapegoats some FBI agents, then they will never address the root of the problem, which is FISA’s statutory construct. Reform of the law is a better option than a high-profile prosecution of FBI agents that will become, yet another, political football,” he said.

Contact Mark Tapscott at mark.tapscott@epochtimes.nyc