One week ago we found out that special counsel Robert Mueller had concluded his 22-month investigation into Russian interference.
Five days ago, we got a four-page summary letter of Mueller’s report authored by Attorney General William Barr that made clear no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians had been established and that Mueller did not reach a conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed the investigation.
And now, so closely removed to those two massive developments, which everyone – me included – expected to fundamentally alter Trump’s presidency and the course of the 2020 race, it appears as though most people have, well, moved on.
For his part, Trump has taken on two new high-profile fights: joining a suit to repeal Obamacare wholly and pledging, on Twitter on Friday, to close our southern border totally if and when two migrant caravans moving through Mexico make it there.
He’s already moved into weaponizing the Mueller report – its full nearly 400 pages are yet to be released, though they’re expected to be sent to Congress in mid-April if not sooner – as an example of the broad-scale conspiracy by the so-called “deep state” against him. (He offers no evidence for those claims, of course.)
Democrats are divided as to the best next steps.
Some (many?) argue that until the full Mueller report is released, there can be no definitive conclusion about what Trump did (or didn’t do). And there are those, such as Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who insist evidence of collusion already exists.
Others in the party believe that short of exposing a cover-up by Barr of what is really in the report, the main message to the American public will be that Mueller didn’t find collusion – and, therefore, Democrats need to focus on health care, immigration and other issues a) that voters care more about and b) on which voters tend to favor Democrats.
There’s no question that when the Mueller report comes out (which will likely be sometime next month) there will be another bump of interest. But if Barr’s summary hit the main points – and no collusion or obstruction is proven – then it’s uniquely possible both parties won’t be spending nearly as much (or any) time on the Mueller report in six months.
The Point: Predicting how something like the Mueller report lands with the public is a tricky thing – particularly when we don’t know for sure what’s in it. And it’s possible that once we do know more of what Mueller found – as opposed to just Barr’s top lines – perceptions could change. But the most likely outcome today is that the report goes out with more of a whimper than a bang – in political terms.
- Trump greets Netanyahu, signs Golan Heights proclamation
- Trump attorney doesn’t want responses to Mueller released
- Bannon, Priebus, McGahn won’t turn over docs unless WH approves
- Trump admin now says entire ACA should be struck down
- Pentagon tells Congress $1 billion authorized for wall construction
- At AIPAC, Pence continues Trump attacks against Democrats
- Trump nominates general to lead US Space Command
- Trump blocking Twitter users is a personal matter, DOJ argues
- Trump says GOP will be the party of health care
- Trump swipes at Puerto Rico in closed door lunch with Republicans
- Pence says admin wants Americans back on the moon in 5 years
- Pompeo expands US ban on funding for abortion services
- Trump calls Jussie Smollett case ‘an absolute embarrassment’
- Court blocks another Trump attempt to undermine Obamacare
- Trump holds raucous first rally since Mueller investigation ended
- Trump disavows Special Olympics cuts
- Defense Dept. begins scouting sites for new border wall
- Nielsen asks for new authorities to deport and detain migrants
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