A new NBC News-SurveyMonkey poll released Thursday revealed how Americans really feel about President Donald Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey.
The poll found that a majority of Americans — 54 percent — think Trump letting Comey go was not appropriate. The opinions were largely followed party lines, with the vast majority of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning voters (84 percent) as well as most independents (61 percent) saying Trump was wrong to make the move, NBC News reported.
Just 13 percent of Republican voters and Republican-leaning voters said the same. And 79 percent of Republicans said they agree with Trump's decision to let Comey go.
Republicans and Democrats were also sharply divided when it came to the reason they believe the president fired the FBI director.
Most Democrats (67 percent) said Trump fired Comey because of the FBI's handling of the investigation of reported Russians interference in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Moscow. Meanwhile, 43 percent of Republicans agreed with the White House and said the decision was based on the bureau's handling of the investigation into former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's emails.
Among all voters, 46 percent said Comey's termination had to do with the Russia probe; 24 percent said Comey's firing was related to the Clinton email investigation; and 22 percent said Trump made the decision based on something else.
The White House officially cited the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation for Comey's firing.
Trump told reporters that Comey "was not doing a good job." During an interview with NBC News, Trump characterized the FBI as being "in turmoil" and said he had planned to fire Comey regardless of what Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended.
“I was going to fire Comey, my decision. I was going to fire Comey. There’s no good time to do it, by the way," Trump said. “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”
Rosenstein recommended in a letter to the president earlier this week that he let Comey go. Attorney General Jeff Sessions signed off on the letter before it reached the president's desk, even though Sessions previously vowed to recuse himself from any Justice Department investigation having to do with the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia, CNN reported.