President Donald Trump's criticisms of the FBI are wide of the mark, according to a new Lawfare poll.
Participants surveyed between Dec. 5 and 7 gave the FBI a rating of 3.34 on a scale of 5, Lawfare reported. The only other institution to score a higher level of confidence in a Lawfare poll was the military at 3.78.
The poll was based on the question, "How much confidence do you have in the FBI?" The survey was taken by 3,172 people.
Some Republicans have raised the charge of the FBI being biased after text messages between two officials were made public in which they attacked then presidential candidate Donald Trump and made favorable comments about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
This has prompted suggestions that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading the investigation into alleged Russian interference into the 2016 election, is no longer fit to conduct the inquiry.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated Dec. 14 that there is nobody "better qualified for this job," and added that "political affiliation" does not amount to political "bias."
"I discussed this with Director Mueller, and we recognize we have employees with political opinions," Rosenstein told the House Judiciary Committee, according to ABC News. "It's our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions. He is running that office appropriately, recognizing that people have political views but ensuring that those views are not in any way a factor in how they conduct themselves in office."
Republican Rep. Tray Gowdy demanded to know from Rosenstein, "What the hell is going on at the FBI?"
"The reason we have Special Counsel is because of conflicts of interest," added Gowdy, according to Real Clear Politics. "We don't like conflicts of interest because it undermines people's confidence in both the process and the result. And lo and behold! Those that are supposed to make sure there are no conflicts of interest seem to have a bit of their own."
Rosenstein answered by stating that investigators would take measures to ensure that all "improper conduct" is exposed.
In response to the suggestion that the Department of Justice should not have released the text messages during an ongoing investigation, it was pointed out that the department has acted similarly in the past. During the Obama administration, when Congress was demanding an investigation into the failed gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice invited reporters to a conference room to view private messages. At the time, the department's inspector general was involved in conducting an internal investigation of the affair.