Well, that’s showbiz. The long-awaited testimony of Robert Mueller has come and gone.
It did not turn out to be “Watergate, Part Deux.” It did not send a tingle up anyone’s leg over at MSNBC, or prompt publishers to scramble to create an instant book based on the testimony, as they did when Mr. Mueller’s actual report was revealed in March. It will not become a made-for-TV movie any time soon.
The day of questions and answers between lawmakers and Mr. Mueller will instead provide a teachable moment for Democrats who were counting on the event to rile up voters against President Trump and the Republican Party, and fan the flames of impeachment or a reasonable facsimile therein.
“After today, I’m not even sure Mueller read the Mueller Report,” tweeted Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Yes, well. Plenty of witnesses had dire reviews, with one word emerging as the term of choice.
NBC News moderator Chuck Todd, Fox News host Chris Wallace, CBN anchor David Brody, The Federalist editor and columnist David Harsanyi and anti-Trump Harvard law professor Larry Tribe were among the many who deployed the word “disaster” in their assessment of the event. But wait, there’s more:
“Robert Mueller’s day of disappointments for Democrats” (Real Clear Politics); “Euphoria: White House, GOP exult after a flat Mueller performance” (Politico); “Nadler’s Mueller hearing was a waste of everyone’s time” (The New York Post); “Trump impeachment drive takes hit as bombshell-free Mueller hearings rehash report” (Fox News); “It certainly seems like Donald Trump is winning” (CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin); “This is very, very painful” (former Obama administration adviser David Axelrod, in a tweet).
“After years of lies from Democrats, here’s where we ended up: No obstruction. No collusion. It’s time for Democrats to stop moving the goal posts, end their baseless investigations and ridiculous calls for impeachment and work with President Trump on issues that would actually benefit Americans, like securing the border and passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” advises Steve Guest, a Republican National Committee strategist.
NOT BUYING IT
Voters are increasingly more skeptical about the propriety of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll reveals that 37% of all voters say that the investigation was carried out “very” or “somewhat fairly” — compared with 42% who say the probe was not conducted “too fairly” or “fairly at all.”
The poll was conducted July 19-29, in advance of Mr. Mueller’s congressional testimony on Wednesday.
The numbers indicate the sentiment is significantly shifting, despite nonstop media coverage on “Russian collusion” that is primarily hostile to President Trump and his administration.
A previous Politico survey conducted shortly after the report’s release in March found that 46% of voters thought the probe had been fair, compared with 29% who said it was unfair.
“Our polling suggests Republicans and Democrats alike are expressing growing skepticism around the handling of the Mueller probe,” said Tyler Sinclair, vice president of Morning Consult.
“This week, 42% of Democrats and 42% of Republicans believe the probe was handled unfairly, compared with 27% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans who said the same in April following the release of the redacted report,” he added.
THE CONSUMMATE REALITY CHECK
“The Democrats have come up against a brick wall of reality,” talk radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh told his 14 million listeners as Mueller’s hearing on Capitol Hill meandered through its paces on Wednesday.
“The overall theme of this thing today has been flawed from the beginning. It was destined to fail from the beginning, because the Democrats have been trying to create an alternate reality,” Mr. Limbaugh continued.
THE GREENS HAVE A SAY
While there is much squawking in the nation’s capital over assorted matters, the Green Party is far to the north making plans for the 2020 election.
The significant independent party is descending on Salem, Massachusetts, for three days beginning on Thursday, for a national meeting. Among the 30 workshops and forums to greet the guests: “Building a mass working class third party,” “Who you calling spoiler?” and “An Eco-Socialist Green New Deal.”
The party will also introduce its Green-Rainbow Party candidates.
“Greens are surging around the world, calling for urgent climate action, social justice, peace and democracy. In the US, we’re are not only changing the debate, we’re winning it with an emergency Green New Deal and the right to a job, free public higher education, student debt bailout, medicare for all, racial & migrant justice & ranked choice voting to break the stranglehold of the parties of war and Wall Street!” the organizers advise incoming attendees.
Among the speakers is Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein — who received about 1% of the vote in the 2016 election, or about 1.4 million votes. The Democratic Party, she told Fox News earlier this year, “is not the party of diversity.”
Ms. Stein has not yet revealed her plans for 2020.
The Green Party itself has 257,000 registered voters according to spokesperson Holly Hart.
DEMOCRATS IN FLUX
“Before President Trump criticized the so-called ‘Squad’ of young Democratic congresswomen, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was already trying to wrest the media’s attention away from them. Her fellow Democrats tend to agree with Pelosi, but it’s far from a slam dunk,” reports a new Rasmussen Report survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters.
It found that 42% of likely Democratic voters believe Democrats in Congress should be more like Mrs. Pelosi than “Squad” leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
Another 29% disagree and think congressional Democrats should emulate Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.
“Just as many (28%), however, are undecided,” the poll said.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69% of registered U.S. voters say it is “absolutely certain” they will vote in the 2020 primary or caucus in their state; 76% of Republicans, 54% of independents and 76% of Democrats agree.
• 14% say it’s “very likely” they will vote; 13% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 14% of Democrats agree.
• 11% says it’s a 50-50 proposition as to whether they will vote; 8% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.
• 6% say it’s not likely they will vote; 3% of Republicans, 13% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.
Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,992 registered U.S. voters conducted July 19-21.
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