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Horowitz: One Year In, Mueller Probe Goes Full Steam Ahead

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


As Special Counsel Bob Mueller moves into the second year of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, President Trump, his latest attorney Rudy Giuliani and his enablers in the media and among Republican House members increasingly shrill, blatantly false and even more desperate attacks on the probe are no match for the steady march of indictments, convictions and the accretion of facts demonstrating that Mueller is doing serious, wide-ranging and effective work on a critical issue of national security and the integrity of our election process.

As Vox reported, Mueller has indicted or received guilty pleas against 19 people and 3 companies so far. Among the people who have pled guilty and are cooperating with the probe are former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates. Additionally, 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies have been indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States, among other charges, for their active social media work in the 2016 election aimed at helping President Trump, harming Hillary Clinton and sowing general discord. The indictment spells out the breadth of this aspect of what intelligence officials call "Russian active measures.”

This is before the Special Counsel has issued any indictments-which you can be sure will be coming—on the hacking of the DNC and the release of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta’s emails or weighed in as he will nearly certainly do on whether or not the President committed obstruction of justice or any other offenses in his over-the-top efforts to shut down and interfere with the investigation.

For this type of complicated investigation, one year is not a lot of time.  So when Giuliani calls the probe ‘unjustifiable or says they have “nothing on Trump” and it is time to "wrap it up” it may be music to the ears of Trump supporters, but to the rest of us it sounds like more empty noise. This is especially the case since Trump enablers such as Giuliani, have moved from one discredited argument to another as emerging new facts consistently outruns their spin. It wasn’t that long ago that they were arguing that the Russians really didn’t meddle all that much in the presidential election—if at all.  Or remember that the first line of spin on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was that it was about adoption.

Even more out there where the buses don’t run than Giuliani, is Sean Hannity. This past Friday night he called the Mueller probe a ‘direct threat to the nation.” And Trump himself continues to call the investigation a ‘witch hunt or a ‘hoax’.  In the upside-down alternative universe of Trump and his defenders the danger to national security isn’t that a foreign power interfered in our election and is poised to so once again; it is the investigation to get to the bottom of it that is the real problem.

While this systematic effort to demonize the investigators is producing results with Republicans as polling shows an increasingly unfavorable view of Mueller and the probe among this sub-set of the electorate, its reckless disregard for the facts and ratcheted up distortions about the work of the FBI and the Justice Department is not only disgraceful, but very likely to backfire in the end. As John Adams famously said, “facts are stubborn things.”  In the long-run Bob Mueller’s facts are going to be more powerful than the evasions, lies and unfair attacks of President Trump and his enablers.

While one can overdo the comparison to Watergate, the reflexive Nixon defenders both in Congress and the media, ended up just about completely discredited when the truth emerged. And their willingness to bend the truth beyond recognition pales in comparison to Trump and his defenders.

There will be a day of  reckoning. It promises not to be pretty.

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island


Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017

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Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.

Prev Next

Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%

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When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%

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Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%

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In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don't know/Refused: .6%

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%

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Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don't know/Refused: 5%

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Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don't know/Refused: 1%

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Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don't know: 4%

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Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don't know/refused: 17%

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What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%

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Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%

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Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%

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Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%

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Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%

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Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%

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Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%

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Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%

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Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%

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Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%


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