A majority of Americans disapprove of the way the Biden White House has handled the president’s classified documents controversy, according to a new national survey.
As the White House has refused to answer questions regarding President Biden’s classified documents discoveries, nearly 6 in 10 (57%) Americans say they disapprove of how the president’s team has handled the situation, according to a CNN poll published Tuesday.
The survey also found strong bipartisan support for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of a special counsel to investigate Biden, with 88% of Republicans, 84% of independents, and 80% of Democrats saying they approve. Two-thirds of survey respondents said the documents found at Biden’s Delaware residence and his old office at the Penn Biden Center present a problem for the president, with 67% saying it is a very or somewhat serious issue.
The White House press team has deflected questions on Biden’s handling of classified documents since the special counsel appointment, referring reporters to either the White House Counsel’s office or the Justice Department. Four batches of classified materials have been found in Biden’s possession in total, dating from both his time as vice president and as a senator from Delaware.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to “go down a rabbit hole” on the topic after Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressed her with several questions. And on Monday, White House Counsel spokesman Ian Sams accused the press of trying “to stir up controversy to get attention,” insisting that Biden takes the matter seriously and is allowing the Department of Justice to act independently.
Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer has said the president is fully cooperating with the special counsel investigation.
As the special counsel proceeds, most Americans surveyed do not believe Biden violated the law with his handling of classified documents, the poll found. A 44% plurality said Biden has done something unethical, but not illegal, while 18% said he has done nothing wrong. More than a third of Americans (37%) said Biden has done something illegal.
When it comes to former President Donald Trump, however, a majority of Americans (52%) said Trump did something illegal in his handling of the 300 or so classified documents the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago last year. Fewer than a third of survey respondents (32%) said Trump did something unethical, but not illegal and only 15% believe he has done nothing wrong,
President Biden’s approval rating remains underwater, with 45% of Americans saying they approve of Biden’s job as president and 55% saying they disapprove.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.