As the dust from the Mueller report begins to settle, both sides of the political aisle are crafting their arguments to address the findings. In a clear pivot away from the now-debunked Russian collusion story, the progressive media establishment is tirelessly working up an obstruction of justice narrative as the foundation of a case to impeach President Trump.
On the other side, conservatives are railing against the Russia probe, claiming that it was – as Trump says – a “witch hunt” all along. Many are calling for Attorney General William Barr to investigate F.B.I. conduct during the lead-up to the investigation.
But one question remains: How will the results of the Russia probe impact the 2020 election? Will the ten incidents of possible obstruction laid out by special counsel Mueller be enough for a Democratic candidate to unseat the president? Or will the lack of evidence that collusion occurred become an effective political weapon for Trump’s supporters to use against the progressive left?
What Does America Think?
A look at Americans’ stated opinions surrounding the report could provide a glimpse into the potential outcome of the 2020 election:
- According to a Fox News poll conducted days before the publication of the report, 39% of respondents believed the investigation did not exonerate Trump of collusion, while 35% felt that it did.
- The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research published the results of a survey revealing that 44% of participants were concerned about potential contact between the president or his campaign and the Kremlin. When it comes to Trump’s ties to Russia, 35% believed he had done something illegal, 34% thought he “acted unethically,” and 29% felt that he had done nothing illegal or unethical.
- A Reuters poll released the day after Mueller’s report revealed that only about 37% of respondents approved of Trump’s performance, which marks a three-point drop from a survey conducted earlier in the month.
The decline in Trump’s approval rating the day after the release of the report might indicate that Americans believe he engaged in illegal activity. While the special counsel’s findings would seem to disprove any collusion between his campaign and Russia, it seems people are not convinced that Trump is entirely innocent.
Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner noted that the special counsel gave a “parting gift” to impeachment-hungry Democrats in a list of episodes where the president may have attempted to obstruct the investigation.
“These revelations encapsulate exactly why prosecutors do not release information about investigations into individuals not charged with crimes. Who among us would not be embarrassed and enraged by the results of a two-year hunt by bloodthirsty investigators for anything that might weaken us, or bring us down?” wrote Mr. Donner.
One might think these conclusions spell doom for the president in 2020, but a closer look reveals the Democrats would be wise to refrain from getting their hopes up.
How Will Mueller’s Report Impact 2020?
Another Fox News survey questioned participants about the extent to which they consider the Russia investigation to be important. Only 7% stated that details in the Mueller report could have a “strong” chance of changing their opinions of President Trump. Surprisingly, CNN reported that during their own poll on key voter concerns, no respondents said the Russia probe was their top issue for the 2020 election.
It seems the Russia allegations may not cause much political damage to the president, but is it possible they could help him? A recent Hill-HarrisX survey demonstrated that 35% of participants believed the majority of stories published by the press have been biased against the president, while only 26% claimed the coverage was fair.
Even Noam Chomsky – who is so left wing that he makes China’s leadership look like Ronald Reagan – admitted as much.
In a panel discussion with Democracy Now!, he criticized the progressive left for their fixation on the Russiagate narrative. “I should say, the Democrats are helping him. They are,” he said. “Take the focus on Russiagate. What’s that all about? I mean, it was pretty obvious at the beginning that you’re not going to find anything very serious about Russian interference in elections.”
You know what they say about broken clocks, right? Chomsky is correct – the unceasing press coverage of the collusion illusion was a gift to the president. By caterwauling over every supposed “bombshell” report revealing that “the walls were closing in” on a president caught up in a vicious scandal “worse than Watergate,” the media essentially handed him a flashlight to shine on their deceptive tactics and use as a political cudgel against them.
Whether Mueller’s report helps Trump or not, the support of the American people does not appear to hinge on this issue. If the Democrats want to stand a chance in 2020, they will need to break their addiction to Russian conspiracy theories and start making some decent policy arguments. Otherwise, they are in for a repeat of 2016.