Special counsel Robert Mueller’s public image has sunk to an all-time low since he began his probe into possible collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
Months of sustained conservative attacks led by President Donald Trump and his allies has harmed Mueller most among Republicans, with a record 53 percent now saying they view the lead Russia investigator in an unfavorable light. That’s a 26-point spike since July, when the poll first started asking voters whether they viewed Mueller favorably or unfavorably.
Mueller’s unfavorable numbers have hit highs among both Democrats and independents, at 24 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Thirty-six percent of all registered voters are also seeing Mueller unfavorably, which represents the highest level since the polling first raised the topic 11 months ago. Back then, 23 percent of all voters said they viewed Mueller negatively.
The spike in the special counsel’s unfavorable ratings come as he begins his second year on the job. Mueller has already publicly netted five guilty pleas and 18 indictments of people and companies tied to his work examining Moscow meddling in the 2016 election. But he’s nonetheless faced sharp attacks from the president, his lawyers and other associates.
Voters interviewed for the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll also have changed direction on whether they think the Mueller investigation has been on the up and up. In the latest survey, 40 percent of voters said it had been handled unfairly, compared to early February when 34 percent said the probe wasn’t being handled fairly. The percentage saying the investigation was being done fairly remained unchanged from February at 38 percent.
I understand that Mueller's probe is not subject legally to the whims of polls, the antelope can take all the polls they want to about the lioness and she still hunts them, but in the end this was always going to be about politics, not just rule of law. Nixon resigned in 1974 only because leaders in both parties made it clear he was not only going to be impeached but that well more than 67 Senate votes were there to remove him from office. The Constitution makes it pretty clear that there's only two ways to remove a president, impeachment and the 25th Amendment, and both of those are political, not just legal acts.
However, not all is rosy for Team Orange here.
The latest poll also has bad news for the president. Forty-eight percent of voters believe Trump has attempted to impede or obstruct the Russia investigation, up from 44 percent who offered the same view in early February. Democrats by a wide margin — 79 percent — said Trump was trying to obstruct Mueller’s probe. But 70 percent of Republicans said the president wasn’t meddling in the investigation.
Trump also may want to rethink his comments about pardoning himself if he’s found guilty of a crime. The president last week told reporters he had the “absolute right” to make that move, but a majority of voters — 59 percent — said they opposed the idea of Trump issuing a self-pardon. Twenty percent said the president should pardon himself, while 21 percent were without an opinion or responded that they didn’t know.
The breakdown among party affiliation on pardons is also against the president. About a third of Republicans — 34 percent — agree with the idea that Trump should issue himself a pardon. The same number of Republicans also said he should not pardon himself. Among Democrats, just 13 percent said the president should pardon himself, while 77 percent rejected the idea. Only 15 percent of independents said they thought Trump should pardon himself, while 63 percent said no.
Politics, after all, can cut both ways. Meanwhile, it looks like Michael Cohen is ready to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.
As attorneys for Michael Cohen rush to meet Judge Kimba Wood’s Friday deadline to complete a privilege review of over 3.7 million documents seized in the April 9 raids of Cohen’s New York properties and law office, a source representing this matter has disclosed to ABC News that the law firm handling the case for Cohen is not expected to represent him going forward.
To date, Cohen has been represented by Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of the Washington and New York firm, McDermott, Will & Emery LLP.
No replacement counsel has been identified as of this time.
Cohen, now with no legal representation, is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors in New York, sources said. This development, which is believed to be imminent, will likely hit the White House, family members, staffers and counsels hard.
If Cohen flips on Trump, and all indications are this is happening and happening soon, then Trump is done and he knows it.
Things will move quickly now if this story is true. Cohen is all but asking for a pardon and for the Trump to step in on his sate case in Virginia.. The question is now whether or not he'll get it on the federal level, and if Trump can make arrangements to defend him.
We'll see what happens, but my guess is that Trump will make our ongoing Constitutional crisis exponentially worse by the weekend.