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             9/6/2018

President Trump and Robert Mueller

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The ongoing investigation on Russia, headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, has no end in sight yet. Even though many want it to end before the midterm elections in November, there is no official deadline and the lack of any conclusive evidence against Trump himself means it could possibly continue for months longer.

Beginning in May of 2017, Mueller’s investigation was tasked with finding evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Several of his campaign aides and advisors including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn have been indicted for making fraudulent statements to the FBI about their conversations with Russian officials willing to help them win, but nothing indicates so far that Trump approved, or directed collusion with any foreign agents to secure his victory. Many conservatives, including Trump himself, have been outspokenly against the investigation, accusing the investigators of deliberately searching for a case against the president. Trump himself has denounced the investigation many times as a “witch hunt.” Many on the left, by contrast, are convinced that Russian hackers, trolls, and rabble-rousers deceived large swaths of the American people into supporting Trump for president with viral information campaigns on the internet.

Many voters are counting on the results of this investigation to make an informed decision in November. Obviously, support for Democrats and Republicans will change drastically depending on whether a federal investigation declares that Trump won honestly or through "Russian interference". But without any official statement of Trump’s innocence or guilt, that may not happen. With Republicans consistently behind in the generic congressional polls by about 7 percent, they, in particular, need the results to be favorable to Trump in order to keep their political advantage.

According to a recent poll by CNN of over a thousand respondents, a majority of Americans want Mueller to finish the investigation before the midterms. Both Democrats and Republicans alike are eager to see the results, with 57 percent of the former and 72 percent of the latter favoring an end to the investigation before November. About 70 percent said the results of the investigation are an “extremely” important factor in deciding who to vote for.

Additionally, more Americans now support Mueller’s handling of the situation than in June, with about a six percent approval increase. Although 55 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s responses to Mueller’s investigation, an increasing percentage (five percent higher than in June) of them are beginning to approve of his rhetoric the longer it drags on. The percentage of people who believe Trump is guilty has remained essentially the same over time, increasing only one percent from February up to 56 percent.

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