Mueller report and Trump’s reelection

Yesterday was probably the best day of Trump’s Presidency.  While there is a bit of ambiguity on the question of obstruction of justice, the Mueller report concluded that Trump’s did not conspire or coordinate with Russia. I know it is probably too soon to say what does it mean politically for Trump, but if we speculate a bit does it increase his chances of being reelected, and how do you think Democrats will react? Read few comments.

Robert BusbySenior Lecturer in Politics, Liverpool Hope University

Trump will now have a field day with those who anticipated that there was a close connection with the Russians. Several Democrats and media pundits had considered that the lengthy and expensive investigation could only lead to one outcome. If it were not Trump who was involved, it would be his family or close business operatives. As it turns out there was no Russian connection at all. The problems faced by individual lawyers associated with Trump, such as Cohen, were rooted in their own personal dealings and illegalities in their own businesses rather than with illegal dealings with Trump. True, some of those episodes cast shadows over the judgement of Trump, but there appears at present insufficient detail to suggest that Trump personally instructed individuals to act in an unlawful manner. Democrats will push hard now for the release of the full report to look for the information regarding the commentary that the Trump team did not assist in the investigation, but the headline outcomes and the core focus of the investigation play out very well for the President. He said he was not involved with Russia, and following years of investigation, he was shown to be right.

This will be a big issue now for 2020. Trump will point to the fact that he is true to his word, and that the Democrats were hanging on to speculative arguments when attacking him. He will also now increase his calls for an investigation of how the Russians may have had access to information possessed by the Democrats in 2016. Relations with the media will be interesting to observe. They were not good and this will really add fuel to the fire and will be an attack tool for Trump to pursue them once again for 2020.

Speculation had been rife that the Democrats would seek to launch impeachment hearings against the President, especially now that they hold the House of Representatives. This changes the dynamics of that ambition. Trump could only be removed for treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanours  – and with a lack of evidence and the momentum having been taken away from the Democrat cause it seems now highly likely that Trump will see through a first term without this burden. Democrats will now have to reconsider how to attack the President. This won’t change the fact that the United States is polarized and Trump’s core support will stick with him, and those that opposed him from the start will still see him as a very poor leader, but what it will do is take away a huge shadow that lingered from 2016 and allow 2020 to be judged on conventional political issues rather than conspiracy and assumption.

Robert SchmuhlProfessor of American Studies, University of Notre Dame

The major finding of the Mueller report of no collusion and no conspiracy will embolden President Trump. He will use this finding as a centerpiece of his re-election campaign to criticize his opponents and the news media as strongly as he can.  Americans will repeatedly hear that Trump was a victim of a protracted and expensive investigation that questioned his legitimacy as a legally elected president. As future investigations take shape, he will point to the Mueller finding as proof that he is being tormented by the Democrats, by the ‘establishment’ in the government and by the media.

Democrats need to be careful in dealing with all of the the charges being leveled at the president. If Democrats are perceived as being obsessed with Donald Trump, they will pay a very high price in the 2020 election. Candidates running for the party’s presidential nomination should keep the concerns of voters–the economy, health care, the environment–in the forefront.

What we don’t know as yet from the Mueller investigation is why so many of the people who worked closely with Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign are now in prison or heading to jail for lying to Congress or to government officials. The campaign director, his director, the national security advisor, the lawyer and a long-time advisor are all guilty or formally charged of making false statements. What are the reasons these political figures lied?

Mitchell OrensteinProfessor of Central and East European Politics , University of Pennsylvania, Associate, Center for European Studies, Harvard University

On Sunday, we received the Barr report.  Barr is Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General.  We have not yet seen the Mueller Report, which is far more detailed.  Given Trump and his minions’ track record of dishonesty, I do not believe anything in the four-page letter.  The quotes appear to be cherry-picked and it does not sound like a summary of the Mueller report to me.  I reserve judgement until I read the entire Mueller report, which I intend to do.

Meanwhile, there is plenty of evidence of Trump campaign cooperation with the Russians and Trump campaign officials who have gone to jail for lying about their cooperation with Russians (Flynn, Papadapolous).  Stone is under indictment.  Manafort, in jail, had Kilimnik by his side.  I look forward to reading the Mueller report to understand the context of these actions and charges.  For now, I have nothing to say about the Barr report except, great propaganda!

Steffen Schmidt, Lucken Endowed Professor of Political Science, Iowa State University

The initial news is very good for Pres Trump. Of course there are still many questions about his relations with Russia and the activities of his children, friends and staff. These will be investigated and probably legally prosecuted by states especially New York.

In the American federal system of government states have very extensive powers and we should not underestimate how embarrassing or legally (and politically) difficulty these investigations could be for Mr Trump.

His campaign for reelection is underway and he will use the “no collusion” verdict by Mr Mueller every day to put and end to that issue. However 2020 is still far away and many things can happen between now and November 2020! Especially with the economy.

Also it depends on who is the Democratic candidate and how well the Democrats hold together and reach out to the voters Mrs Clinton lost for the 2016 election.

Also now that Russia meddling concern has been reduced there are real issues such as immigration, border wall, the economy which may star slowing, spending and great deficits as well as North Korea to be discussed.

Gennady RudkevichAssistant Professor, Department of Government & Sociology, Georgia College & State University

Going by the tone of Trump’s recent tweets, he is certainly happy with the results of the Mueller investigation. In the short term, this will absolutely help him. It might convince some of the Republicans who weren’t sure about him to finally support him. Some independents might also decide that Trump was telling the truth when he spoke about a “witch hunt” against him. Combined, this should improve his approval rating by a few percent. In the long term – meaning by election time – this will be just another talking point. Trump will use it to galvanize his supporters, while Democrats will focus on other issues. So while this will improve his probability of getting reelected, he’ll still have an approval rating of less than 50%, which means reelection is far from certain.

As for the Democrats: they will focus on their own investigation – which they only recently started – hoping to unveil new and embarrassing material about Trump’s actions before, during, and after the 2016 campaign. I think calls for impeachment will mostly disappear, with the new efforts being used to hurt Trump’s popularity, rather than to remove him from office through impeachment.

Robert Y. ShapiroProfessor, Political Science, Columbia University

First, this was a good day for Trump and the Republicans, vindicating Trump and others in his family and the administration on conspiring with the Russians.  The uncertainty on obstruction and especially Barr’s opinion assures Trump that even if he is impeached, Republicans in the Senate now have justification for not voting to convict him, no matter what any Democrat-led congressional investigation finds. Trump could well be indicted for other crimes but it is not clear when that could be if at all.  This helps his chances of reelection such that any of his past supporters who were waiting to hear about the results of the investigation before deciding, will now stick with him. The big question is will this decision lead to anger among the Democrats in a way that produces large enough Democratic voter turnout to defeat Trump and keep/reach majorities in both the House and the Senate — enough so to offset what Republican mobilization this recent turn of events produces.  I think this may well mobilize the Democrats enough to enable them to win in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin  — in the way they did in the 2018 midterm elections– and thereby get a majority of the electoral vote as they again win the popular vote.

Timothy Lynch, Associate Professor in American Politics, University of Melbourne

Yes, a very good day for Trump. I will force Dems to nominate a candidate that can beat him rather than rely on impeachment bringing him down. That means Dems will have to find a way to appeal to those who swung to DT in 2016. They cannot just wallow in identity politics. They have to articulate a traditional Democratic message about white blue collar Americans. They haven’t done this for decades.

Trump can now feel exonerated but also play the victim card. The elite tried to remove him and failed. But they will try again. And again. Vote for me to stop this happening.  The other positive for DT is that no charge against will ever be believed now. His previous sins are all absolved. He will win on the basis of his record in office.

World leaders will have to take him seriously now. They cannot rely on his removal. This will augment his foreign policy power.

So yes a very good day for the Donald. He is a remarkable political phenomenon.

Mark RozellDean and Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

At the moment this all looks like a big win for the president that can only help his reelection bid. But caution is in order here because we do not know the details of the Mueller Report and should they become public and reveal evidence of serious misdeeds by the president, the trouble could start up all over again.

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