Mueller’s Popularity Plummets to All-Time Low
New poll finds 36 percent of voters view the special counsel negatively, up from 23 percent in July, as concerns grow about anti-Trump bias
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s popularity has sunk to an all-time low, more than a year after he took the helm of the probe into allegations of collusion between members of President Donald Trump’s campaign staff and Russia interests, a Politico/Morning Consult poll revealed Wednesday.
“Robert Mueller’s disapproval rating is at its highest point since Morning Consult and Politico began tracking the special counsel,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s managing director, Politico reported. “A key driver of this movement appears to be Republicans. Today, 53 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable impression of Robert Mueller, compared to just 27 percent who said the same in July 2017.”
While Republicans’ disapproval of Mueller spiked 26 percent from 27 percent in July to 53 percent in June 2018, Democrats and independents also recorded higher disapproval numbers. Roughly 24 percent and 33 percent of Democrats and independents, respectively, said they viewed Mueller negatively.
Politico and Morning Consult began tracking Americans’ opinions of Mueller in July 2017. Although 23 percent of all voters said they disapproved of Mueller in July, 36 percent now view him negatively.
Approximately 40 percent of voters also say they think Mueller has carried out his investigation unfairly, compared to the 34 percent who said the same in February. Only 38 percent of voters believe Mueller is conducting his probe fairly, the survey found.
Mueller's investigation dragged into its second year in May amid growing concerns of anti-Trump bias among his investigators. Trump and Republicans have long criticized Mueller's "Russian witch hunt" as "rigged" and ripped top Department of Justice and FBI officials — both former and current — as biased against him.
Trump and many Republicans were outraged over the Spygate controversy in which the FBI used an informant who befriended three campaign officials and collected information. At Trump's direction, the Department of justice (DOJ) announced that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz will investigate if the informant's activities are evidence the Obama administration improperly infiltrated and surveilled his campaign to aid 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Republicans also took issue with the FBI's use of the infamous Trump-Russia dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to renew surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Anti-Trump and pro-Clinton texts exchanged between FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page also marred Mueller's probe because of Strzok's role as a top member in Mueller's probe. Mueller removed Strzok from his post in August 2017 after his anti-Trump text messages with Page first surfaced. Page resigned from the FBI earlier this month amid intense scrutiny.
The president has also targeted the "13 Angry Democrats" on Mueller's team, referring to top team members who are registered Democrats and donated to Democratic candidates, including Clinton. He also warned that prolonging Mueller's probe will end up "meddling" with the GOP's upcoming 2018 midterm election chances.
"The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls. There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats!" Trump tweeted on May 29.
Trump's legal team also took a more offensive stance in pushing back against Russian collusion allegations after former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined the president's team in April.
"We're trying to get [Mueller] to end this," Giuliani told Fox News host Laura Ingraham in mid-May on "The Ingraham Angle," adding that "this is not good for the American people, and the special counsel's office doesn't seem to have that, sort of, understanding that they're interfering with things that are much bigger than them or us."
"So it's about time to get the darn thing over with," Giuliani added. "It's about time to say, 'Enough, we've tortured this president enough.'"