Plenty of Democrats, and more than a few Republicans, would like to see Robert Mueller testify before Congress despite the special counsel’s reluctance to appear. Each party has its reasons. Democrats want to score political points by re-litigating Mueller’s report on national television. Republicans want to ask him about when, exactly, he knew there was no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, and about the origins of the investigation itself.
Some liberals go further. They say Mueller’s testimony might have a galvanizing effect on public opinion, and help convince voters that President Trump should be impeached. “If history is any guide,” writes Steve Benen at MSNBC, “the more Americans are confronted with damaging details about the president’s alleged misdeeds, the more the polls are likely to shift.”
Count me skeptical. While there have been slight ups and downs, for the most part polling on impeachment has been stable. The public continues to oppose it.
For example: In the November CNN exit poll, 40 percent of voters were for impeachment. After the release of the Mueller report, the debate over its findings, and Mueller’s press conference last week, CNN’s most recent poll of adults has support for impeachment at . . . 41 percent.
In the NBC News exit poll, 54 percent of voters said Congress should not impeach Trump, and 41 percent said it should. The most recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, released in early May, asked the question somewhat differently, but the results were similar. Forty-eight percent of adults said “Congress should not hold impeachment hearings and Donald Trump should finish his term as president,” 32 percent said “Congress should continue investigating to see if there is enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future,” and 17 percent said “There is enough evidence for Congress to begin impeachment hearings now.”
Robert Mueller disappointed the impeachment caucus by refusing to say if Trump obstructed justice, and by adding nothing new in his farewell statement. What makes Democrats think Mueller won’t disappoint them again?