- More Americans think the final report in the Russia probe will be worse for President Trump than Attorney General William Barr let on, than those who think it will be better, according to a new INSIDER poll.
- Around 36% of Americans think the report will be bad news for Trump, while around 17% believe it will reflect well on him.
- Close to 13% of respondents said the final report would likely line up with what Barr has indicated, and around 35% of respondents had no opinion on the report.
More Americans think the special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in the Russia investigation will be worse for President Donald Trump than Attorney General William Barr indicated, than those who think it will be better.
While they haven’t seen the report yet, Americans have been reading about the convictions and indictments that stemmed from Mueller’s investigation for years. The Attorney General’s terse summary has – in the minds of Americans at least – left daylight between what Mueller wrote and Barr described.
23.3% of Americans think the report will likely be “considerably worse” for Trump than Barr has indicated, and 12.7% believe the report will likely be “slightly worse” than what Barr said, according to a new INSIDER poll conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience.
Meanwhile, 6.5% of respondents believe the report will be “slightly better” for Trump, and 10.1% believe it will be “considerably better” for the president than the attorney general has publicly indicated.
Only 13% believed Barr was on the money, saying his description was “more or less” what was in Mueller’s report. About a third of respondents indicated they did not know or were not sure.
Peoples’ beliefs about how Mueller’s findings would reflect on Trump were significantly impacted by their political views. For instance, more than half of very liberal respondents think the report will be considerably worse than what Barr let on.
Where age is concerned, the older people are, the more likely they are to believe the report will be considerably worse. Meanwhile, the younger someone is, the more likely they are to have withheld judgment.
Mueller and the Russia probe have loomed large over the White House since Trump took office in early 2017. The special counsel was tasked with investigating Russia’s interference in the election, whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favour, and whether Trump sought to obstruct justice in the investigation.
In a letter Barr sent to Congress on March 24, he laid out his “principal conclusions” of the special counsel’s findings. Barr said Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to bring conspiracy charges against Trump or anyone associated with his campaign for coordinating with Russia. Mueller’s team declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on whether Trump obstructed justice and did not draw a conclusion one way or another, Barr added.
But the attorney general, in consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, decided there was not enough evidence to accuse the president of committing an obstruction crime.
Barr’s decision to come to a conclusion on the obstruction inquiry infuriated congressional Democrats and immediately sparked calls for the Justice Department to release a full, unredacted version of the Mueller report.
But Barr has repeatedly said that he will only release a redacted version because federal law or DOJ policy dictates that he must withhold certain categories of information, like grand-jury testimony, classified information, information that could compromise intelligence sources and methods, and information that could harm the reputation of “peripheral third parties” named in the report.
This week, Barr told lawmakers on two House and Senate appropriations subcommittees that he intends to release a redacted copy of the report in the coming days.
At the same time, congressional Democrats are gearing up to go to court to seek an unredacted version of the special counsel’s report, particularly in the wake of several media reports saying members of Mueller’s team are dissatisfied with the way their findings were characterised by Barr.
Among other things, some prosecutors feel the attorney general downplayed their conclusions in the obstruction inquiry, which sources told The Washington Post were “alarming” and “significant.”
They also reportedly prepared several of their own summaries of the Mueller report, which would have required minimal redactions, and they were frustrated Barr did not include more of their material in his review.
Prosecutors’ reported decision to break their silence on the investigation is significant. For the past two years, Mueller ran the tightest ship in Washington, DC, as he and his team of prosecutors spearheaded one of the most politically explosive investigations in modern US history.
Indeed, Mueller’s team was so close-lipped that it forced journalists and the public to get creative to discern what they were up to.
“If prosecutors are concerned that their conclusions may be obscured or misrepresented – and if they’re worried enough that they’re talking about it to other people – that’s something everyone needs to take seriously, regardless of whose side you’re on,” one former White House official who was involved in the Mueller probe told INSIDER.
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