Donald Trump has frequently taken aim at Robert Mueller for operating what he calls a “witch hunt” in the Russia probe, but a new poll found that more Americans side with Mueller than the president.
A new poll from the firm SSRS found that Mueller enjoys a 50 percent approval rating for his handling of the Russia investigation, more than 20 points higher than Trump scored. As CNN noted, this is the first poll on the matter since Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of federal fraud charges and decided to take a plea bargain on a series of other charges. It also comes after Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to a series of charges including campaign finance violations for a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
As the report noted, Robert Mueller’s approval is on the rise amid this development.
“Mueller’s approval rating stands at its highest level in CNN polling, rising 3 points since August, a shift within the poll’s margin of sampling error. Trump’s rating, meanwhile, dipped 4 points, narrowly larger than the error margin,” the report noted.
The poll comes as Donald Trump’s overall approval rating has taken a dive, especially in the states that were critical to him winning the 2016 presidential election. As Newsweek reported, the president’s approval in Rust Belt states is sinking and could have a major effect on the 2018 midterm elections as Democrats seek to regain control of the House and possibly the Senate.
“According to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, five Senate races and five House contests in the Rust Belt are considered tossups,” the report noted. “Despite major spending on negative ad campaigns from the GOP in these hotly contested Midwest battles, Democrats such as Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin continue to lead Republicans, like her challenger, state Sen. Leah Vukmir, by more than 11 percent.”
The Mueller probe could have implications for the upcoming midterm elections as well. The series of convictions for Trump insiders has roiled the White House and put Trump off message, with the potential for more trouble on the way. After his plea bargain, Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and could shed light on the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s top campaign leaders and representatives from the Kremlin offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. Cohen is reportedly working with Mueller as well, recently giving hours of testimony related to Trump’s connections to Russia during the campaign.