It would be interesting if we had data on general trust in the FBI going back a while, wouldn’t it? Are Democrats suddenly big fans? Or have Republicans suddenly developed a massive distrust of the FBI? Luckily Pew Research has a few years of data on this, so let’s take a look:
These are, once again, net results (percent approval minus percent disapproval). For years there was little difference between Republicans and Democrats. Then Democratic views bumped up a bit in the September 2016 poll—even though that was after James Comey had called Hillary Clinton “extremely reckless,” causing her lead over Trump to shrink by a couple of points. Republicans, however, had just finished up their “Lock Her Up!” national convention and weren’t satisfied with a mere verbal thrashing. Their views of the FBI spiked downward.
After that, Democrats stayed steady. But by February of this year the net Republican view of the FBI was a mere +19 percent: 55 percent approval vs. 36 percent disapproval. This has no historical precedent among the traditional party of law-and-order. But now it’s May, and things have gotten even worse: according to the YouGov poll, net trust of the FBI among Republicans is -10 percent. Donald Trump and Fox News and congressional Republicans have convinced more than half of Republicans that the FBI is a cesspool of corruption and bias against conservatives.
That’s remarkable enough. But keep in mind that the FBI was almost single-handedly responsible for keeping Hillary Clinton out the White House. Even so, Republicans think the FBI is biased against them. This is what Trump has done to the Republican Party.