Poll: half of Americans see a Trump victim of witch hunt

Washington (AFP) - Half of Americans believe President Donald Trump is the victim of a political "witch hunt," nearly two years after the launch of the Russia meddling investigation, a new poll showed Monday.

Voters are also broadly opposed, 62 percent to 28 percent, to an impeachment effort against the president in the House of Representatives, the USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed.

But they overwhelmingly want Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on whether Trump obstructed justice and whether his campaign colluded with Russians made public.

Mueller has already issued some three dozen indictments, including charging six former aides and associates of the president and is believed to be winding up his investigation. He has given no indication so far what he will conclude.

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Trump, who has stepped up his campaign to convince the public that Mueller's team is biased and the investigation politicized, tweeted "Wow!" in reaction to the poll.

"50% of Americans AGREE that Robert Mueller's investigation is a Witch Hunt," he wrote. "Very few think it is legit! We will soon find out?"

Democrats in the House of Representatives say they will impeach Trump if there is evidence of wrongdoing in Mueller's report.

But support in Congress for impeaching and trying Trump could by influenced by the level of voter support.

Mueller has obtained guilty pleas and convictions against five of the six Trump aides charged so far, including Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

The investigators are still interviewing witnesses, signalling that they could still be preparing charges against others.

But Mueller's conclusions about Trump's role, if any, are unknown.

Since Mueller was appointed in May 2017, Trump and the White House have pushed hard to discredit the investigation, and Trump has reportedly demanded several times that it be shut down.

He also is pushing to prevent any release of Mueller's report.

"The Special Counsel should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report. This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime," Trump tweeted on Friday.

But the new poll said support for releasing the report is very high: 62 percent consider its release "very important" while another 21 percent judge it "somewhat important."