Less than half of recently polled Trump supporters believe Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer, despite the president's eldest son admitting he attended the controversial meeting.
The latest survey from Public Policy Polling finds that only 45 percent of Trump voters believe Trump Jr. attended a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump has said he agreed to the June rendezvous at Trump Tower under a promise of dirt on President Donald Trump opponent Hillary Clinton – a claim that has drawn great public interest but has been largely downplayed by the White House and the president.
In spite of confirmation from Trump Jr. himself, 32 percent of respondents said the meeting didn't happen and 24 percent said they're not sure.
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The New York Times first broke news of the meeting amid an already on-going investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether anyone connected to the Trump campaign was involved. Trump Jr. acted as a surrogate for his father during the campaign.
Critics have blasted the meeting as potentially part of a larger Trump-Russia collusion effort, but a mere 13 percent of Trump supporters said they believe members of the campaign team worked with Russians to help the president's campaign. An overwhelming 81 percent said they did not, and 6 percent said they were not sure.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump's son-in-law and now-senior adviser, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting with at least five participants linked to Russia. Despite this, survey respondents largely cleared Kushner and Trump Jr. of any broader wrongdoing, with only 9 percent saying they believed either of them engaged in illegal activity to help the president get elected.
That finding is consistent with Trump supporters' overall mindset about possible collusion, according to the findings. Just under a quarter of Trump voters said they want an investigation into whether the campaign colluded with Russia, compared to 64 percent of respondents who said they were against one.
Regardless, the news "doesn't seem to be having that much of an impact on Donald Trump's political standing yet," Dean Debnam, Public Policy Polling president, said in a statement.
"A big part of the reason for that is many of his supporters just refuse to believe or pay attention to it," Debnam said.
The poll found that 72 percent of Trump voters consider the Russia story to be "fake news," with just 14 percent disagreeing.
Ultimately, Trump's core base is loyal.
Seventy-seven percent of Trump voters said they would support the president staying in office, even if investigations find Trump did indeed collude with Russia to earn his spot in the Oval Office.