More than half of respondents in a new survey have said they view the FBI as US President Joe Biden‘s “personal Gestapo,” reflecting increasingly polarized views about the federal policing agency’s hounding of former President Donald Trump.
A Rasmussen poll published on Thursday showed a deep split in Americans’ attitudes toward the FBI, with 44% of respondents saying the recent raid on Trump’s Florida home made them lose trust in the bureau. However, a significant 29% said the move only increased their confidence in the FBI, while 23% said it made no difference.
Asked about previous comments by former Trump adviser Roger Stone – who said “politicized thugs at the top of the FBI” are using the agency as “Joe Biden‘s personal Gestapo” – a majority (53%) agreed, including 34% who concurred “strongly.”
The 53% figure is up from 46% last December, although a more recent survey found 36% disagree with Stone’s characterization. The results were split along party lines, with 76% of Republican and 37% Democrat respondents agreeing with the “Gestapo” label.
According to officials and an unsealed property receipt, the federal raid on Trump’s Florida home on August 8 was centered on a probe into classified documents allegedly taken from the White House – some of them said to be top-secret and even potentially related to nuclear weapons – with the bureau hoping to recover 11 different sets of materials from the residence. It remains unclear what was found in the search, however, and unnamed sources cited by NBC recently said agents will need time to sift through the seized files.
Trump, for his part, has accused the FBI of a politicized raid, and claimed the agency “stole” his passports and privileged legal documents “which they knowingly should not have taken,” although the passports had since been returned.
The former president’s lawyers were not permitted to observe the search of his property, and said FBI agents ordered them to shut off security cameras while it was conducted.