More Republicans are worried about leaks coming out of the Trump White House than the administration’s relationship with Russia, a new Reuters poll found.
President Donald Trump has had a tumultuous first month in office, overshadowed by a series of allegations that his team has had inappropriate contact with Russia. His national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced out after lying to Vice President Mike Pence about discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Trump blamed media leaks for Flynn’s resignation.
Other members of the Trump team, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, are being investigated for repeated contact with Russians during the campaign.
The Reuters poll asked people to select “the most concerning” statement to them: “Reports of conversations between Russia and the Trump team” or “leaks to the media about those conversations.” Fifty-seven percent of Republican respondents said the leaks were most troubling, while 23 percent said the conversations with Russia. Twenty percent didn’t know.
This defies typical Republican hawkishness when it comes to Moscow, traditionally seen as an U.S. adversary by a party greatly concerned with national security. Trump often speaks fondly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has drawn ire from some members of his party like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Overall, 43 percent of Americans found the Russian contacts to be more concerning, while 39 percent found the leaks disturbing. Nineteen percent didn’t know. Democrats were much more concerned about the Russian contact, at 65 percent, with only 25 percent most concerned about the leaks.
Trump has repeatedly decried the leaks coming out of his administration, which has given journalists and the public insight into the inner workings of his White House. The president has frequently taken to Twitter to denounce both the leakers and the media that prints the stories.
The poll was conducted between Feb. 16 and Feb. 20 and surveyed 1,562 Americans. Of those, 578 identified as Republicans.