President Donald Trump’s approval rating dropped
3 percentage points following the Thursday release of Special Counsel Robert
Mueller’s report on Russian attacks on U.S. elections and Trump’s efforts to
obstruct the probe.
was conducted by Reuters/Ipsos from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning. It
showed Trump’s approval at 37%, the president’s lowest this year. That’s down
from 40% on April 15 and from 43% after U.S.
Attorney General William Barr released a letter “summarizing” the Mueller
report in late March, Reuters reported.
The news agency noted that Mueller’s 448-page
report “does not appear to have convinced many to change their opinions”
about Trump, and the results were unsurprisingly split among party lines. Of
those who said they were familiar with the report, only 15% of those polled
said it had prompted them to change their views of Trump and the Russia
On the issue of impeachment, 40% of those surveyed said
Trump should be impeached, compared to 42% who said he shouldn’t. And half of
the Americans polled said they agreed that Trump or someone working on his 2016
presidential campaign collaborated with Russia to influence the elections.
Fifty-eight percent said they believed Trump tried to obstruct the
If you find any of these numbers discouraging, remember that
former President Richard Nixon’s approval ratings were over 50% shortly before
the Senate began holding televised
Watergate hearings in May 1973. When those hearings started, the percentage
of Americans who thought Nixon should be removed from office was at only 19%,
according to the Pew Research Center. That number had climbed to 57% by the
time Nixon resigned in August of the following year.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Friday
would hold televised hearings on Trump’s conduct outlined in the Mueller
report. Nadler told WNYC FM’s
Brian Lehrer, “We will get to the bottom of this and educate the country about
what is going on.”
Barr and Mueller will be among the first to testify before
Congress in the wake of the report’s release, but Nadler said he also would
call “a lot of other people.”
a subpoena Friday for the Justice Department to submit to Congress an unredacted
version of the report, along with the report’s underlying evidence and
testimony—including summaries of witness interviews—by May 1.
“Even the redacted version of the report outlines serious
instances of wrongdoing by President Trump and some of his closest
associates,” Nadler said in a statement quoted by The New York Times. “It now falls to Congress to determine the full
scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going
Also on Friday, six Democratic leaders in Congress submitted
a letter to Barr rejecting an
offer by the attorney general for the lawmakers to be provided a
less-redacted version of the report.
“In order for Congress to fulfill its functions as intended
by the Constitution, it must operate as a coequal and coordinate branch of
government,” the letter, signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate
Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Nadler, House Intelligence Committee Chairman
Adam Schiff, and Senate Ranking Members Dianne Feinstein and Mark Warner, said.
“Given the comprehensive factual findings presented by the Special Counsel’s
Report, some of which will only be fully understood with access to the redacted
material, we cannot agree to the conditions you are placing on our access to
the full report.”
Pelosi, who is on a congressional trip to Ireland, dodged
the impeachment question on Friday, saying she wouldn’t criticize the president
while outside the U.S. Her spokeswoman, Ashley Etienne, told
Bloomberg, “We’re focused on getting the full unredacted version of the
report and its underlying documents – as well as hearing from Mueller.”
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said
Thursday that “going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point.”
He added: “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American
people will make a judgement.”
Note to Hoyer: There also was an election just five months
ago in which Democrats picked up 41 seats
in the House.
As Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who became the first Democratic
candidate for president in 2020 to
call for impeachment hearings, said on Twitter, “To ignore a President’s
repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior
would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest
that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power
in similar ways.”
“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected
officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their
constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment
proceedings against the President of the United States,” she added.
In his report, Mueller identified at least 10 instances in which Trump might have obstructed justice, although the special counsel declined to pursue charges against the president. “…[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mueller stated.
The report added: “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”