Congressional Republicans and White House officials, including President Donald Trump, have been pushing a narrative that pits the FBI and Department of Justice against the President of the United States, espousing untold corruption among leadership.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday shows that the strategy seems to be working: nearly 75 percent of Republicans believe the FBI and DOJ are attempting to undermine the president.
That leaves a mere quarter of Republicans who view the FBI favorably, and coincidentally, that's about the same number who hold a favorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump has called the probe a witch hunt and accused the top leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department of being biased against him. The dispute has caused an extraordinary breach between the White House and law enforcement and deepened partisan rancor.
Some 73 percent of Republicans agreed that "members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimize Trump through politically motivated investigations."
And as Republican faith in the country's top law enforcement offices declines, approval for Putin increases.
According to Vox, American disapproval of the Russian leader was strong following Russia's annexation of Crimea and other provocation in the Ukraine. But that changed when Trump entered American politics:
[B]y September 2016, as Russia’s favoritism for Trump became more and more obvious, Republicans started to flock to Putin. By December 2016, it was a major trend, and as of this past July, the last time YouGov asked, Republicans were still substantially likelier to have favorable opinions of Putin.
By July of last year, a full 26 percent of Republicans held a "very" or "somewhat" favorable view of Russia. In January of this year, 23 percent said they would consider Russia an ally. By comparison, only 9 percent of Republicans took this view in 2014.
This is especially striking since, for the past decade, Democrats have generally been more friendly to Russia than Republicans have been. Pew Research Center found that Republicans were likelier to name Russia as an “adversary” of the United States than Democrats were — until late 2016 when Trump’s closeness to Russia flipped the partisan valence of the question.