There are few areas of widespread agreement in American politics, but special counsel Robert Mueller’s recently completed probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election has revealed a few of them.
First, Americans really want Mueller’s report released in full to the public – beyond the four-page summary of the investigation that Attorney General William Barr sent Sunday to Congress and was released to the American public.
In a CNN poll conducted by SSRS and released last week, 87% of Americans said that regardless of what the investigation found, Mueller’s team should produce a full, public report on their findings. That agreement goes across partisan lines: 95% of Democrats, 88% of independents and 80% of Republicans want a public report.
A Fox News poll released on Sunday that was conducted before Mueller submitted the report and Barr released his summary has similar results: Eight in 10 voters want the report to be available to the public.
The second point of agreement is that most Americans approve of the way Mueller handled the investigation
Over half of registered voters approve of Mueller’s investigation, according to the Fox News poll. The public tends to trust Mueller more than Trump – 45% said they trusted Mueller to tell the truth on the Russia investigation versus the 29% who trusted Trump.
This finding was backed up by a CNN poll out last week that showed 53% of Americans said they think most of what the President has said about the investigation has been false.
Third, a majority of voters think Trump tried to interfere with Mueller’s work. The Fox News poll showed 52% of voters believe Trump tried to interfere with the investigation.
But it’s worth noting that Barr said Friday in a letter to Congress that Justice Department leadership did not stop Mueller from taking any actions during his investigation. Trump spent months slamming Mueller and his team on Twitter and in speeches, but there’s no evidence that the administration did anything to block the probe.
And finally, a fourth point of agreement is that the polling shows a plurality of Americans don’t plan to change their minds about Trump, no matter what Mueller’s investigation turned up.
About 4 in 10 voters in the Fox News poll out Sunday said there’s no chance at all that something in the report could make them change their minds and 29% said there’s only a small chance. Fewer said there was a strong chance (7%) or some chance (14%).
Democrats were steadfast in their opinions on Trump – 47% reported there was no chance at all they would change their minds about him. Nearly 4 in 10 Republicans and 27% of independents said the same thing.
This jibes with how the Russia investigation is playing in the 2020 race for the White House: Right now, it’s not a top issue for voters.
The CNN poll from mid-March asked respondents to describe one issue that would be the most important to them when deciding whom to support in next year’s presidential election. The Russia investigation didn’t register in the results.
Voters did tend to have large disagreements about one aspect of Mueller’s probe: whether the President would be implicated in any criminal activity.
This month’s CNN poll found a split in whether voters thought Trump would be implicated – 47% thought it was very or somewhat likely Mueller would implicate Trump, and 48% said it was not too or not at all likely. The Barr summary revealed Mueller did not establish evidence of collusion, but also showed that Mueller did not exonerate the President.