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Public evenly split on legitimacy of Dem probes into Trump's finances

Americans are evenly divided on the legitimacy of investigations by congressional Democrats into President Trump's past financial transactions, according to a new poll. In a Hill-HarrisX survey of registered voters released Tuesday, 50 percent of respondents said congressional Democrats' inquiries into Trump's finances were legitimate legislative matters that need more examination. The other half said the probes were politically driven. Voters who identified as independents were split 51 percent to 49 percent, with a majority saying the investigations are politically motivated. GOP respondents overwhelmingly characterized the investigations as politically motivated — 80 percent versus 20 percent. Among Democratic voters, 76 percent said the congressional oversight efforts have been for legitimate legislative purposes, while 24 percent said they were politically motivated. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday formally rejected Democrats’ request for Trump’s tax returns, saying the request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.” “I am informing you now that the Department may not lawfully fulfill the Committee’s request,” Mnuchin said in a one-page letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), setting up a likely court battle for Trump's tax returns from 2013-2018. The Hill-HarrisX survey found stark differences among respondents in different age groups, with 59 percent of voters under the age of 35 saying the investigations were legitimate. Fifty-five percent of respondents between the ages 35 and 49 said the inquiries were legitimate, while 45 percent said politics was the primary motivator. Among voters between the 50 and 64 years old, 58 percent said politics were at play with the probes. Fifty-seven percent of those age 65 and older said Democrats were conducting the investigations for political purposes, while 43 percent said they were legitimate. The survey was conducted May 3-4 among a statistically representative sample of 1,002 registered voters with a 95 percent confidence level and a sampling margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. —Mathew Sheffield

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