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Apathy, anger and relief: How voters around the country are processing the end of Mueller


( CNN) Brandon Wolf is ready to move on.

Wolf survived the 2016 shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed and 53 wounded, a misfortune that he said changed his political participation from “engaged but not active” to “active and passionate.”

Now, nonetheless, with Mueller’s probe finished and Washington debating the next steps, Wolf is ready for lawmakers places great importance on things he belief impact the day-to-day the standard of living of Americans more directly.

“I’m like many Americans in that the ultimate make of the report doesn’t affect me nearly as much as the crippling cost of healthcare or paying back student loans, ” said Wolf. “I’d love to see my elected officials and the Democratic Party really turn their focus to a policy frame of mind and talk about how we’re going to move the country forward.”

In interviews with more than 50 Democrats, independents and Republicans in five nations in different regions of the country this week, one clear theme emerged: There is near unanimous fatigue with the Russia investigation and a strong longing for lawmakers to get back to work on bread-and-butter issues.

While nearly every voter CNN talked to said they want the full Mueller report to be liberated, among the most striking judgments was how little the probe changed their belief of Trump — a fact birthed out by a recent CNN poll that found only 13% of voters said Mueller’s findings would sway their 2020 vote.

Of those, 7% said they are now more apt to back the President, while 6% said they are now least likely to do so. A combined 86% say that they had already figured out whether they would vote for or against Trump, or that the results of the investigation won’t affair even though they are undecided now.

These dynamics present difficulties for Democrat hellbent on deposing Trump from office. Wolf, like other Democrat who spoke to CNN, cares about what is in the Mueller report and supported the investigation. But Wolf said that he “breathed a sigh of relief” when he learned the probe was over and wasn’t going to “hang over 2020 in the way I thought it was going to.”

Other Democrats suggested that their faith in institutional powers — like the Justice Department and publicly respected figures like Mueller — had again failed to deliver them from what they viewed as an illegitimate presidency.


“I care about corruption and conspiracy and collusion and nepotism and all that, but I think that the length of this whole process has led me to feel skeptical and less hopeful, ” said Evan Amo, a 30 -year-old Presbyterian pastor who just recently moved to Denver and did not support Trump in 2016. “I think a lot of people are just feeling fatigued by the whole investigation process.”

Democrats and liberals now have to confront a difficult truth: The inquiry that ingested so much of Washington for the better part of two years objective, and which many Democrat hoped would bring down the President, has left him and his supporters feeling vindicated and vengeful.

For Amo, a self-described liberal independent, the outcome has caused him to examine his own motives. “I is hope that Trump is not our president, but I simply don’t think it is constructive to wish for this investigation to prove his guilt just because we despise him or to have a succes over Republicans, ” he said. “That’s the tension that I have: What are my motives? Do I crave a loss for Trump and a win for my party, or do I crave justice for our Democracy as whole? “

Many voters CNN interviewed have political priorities more pressing than Russia.

“Gun control and artillery legal reforms, ” Rebecca Arthur, a mom of one from Westminster, Colorado, said when asked about issues she will vote on in 2020. “Because I have a child coming up through school and I don’t crave her to get mowed down in her classroom.”

Evan Amo

Where do Democrat run from here?

For Democrats, there has been a lingering disconnection between the focus being paid to ongoing Russia investigations on Capitol hill and on cable television, and what voters have said they care about when they talk to elected officials.

At town hall meetings across the country a year ago, as Democrat looked to take back some semblance of control in Washington, questions focused on pocket book issues — health care, retirement and jobs. Even in races with overtones of Russia — like in Democrat Harley Rouda’s eventually successful bidto oust California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher a human known as “Putin’s favorite Congressman” unlikely to hinge on Russia — the Mueller probe was a secondary concern.

That has continued into the early stages of the 2020 presidential race. The topic of Russia or the Mueller investigation is rarely among the questions voters tend to ask the more than a dozen Democrat operating for chairman.

“We’re all focusing on making sure we’re is speaking to actual issues that are actually facing the everyday American, ” said Chris Walton, the chairman of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party. “I’ve never heard when I’m knocking on doors anybody actually bring up Mueller.”

He added: “We get bigger issues to fry, and all of them culminate in November of 2020. “

manager at an education

This gap was readily apparent as the Littleton Running and Hiking Club met around lacquered tables at the Coal Mine Ave Brewing this week in the suburb south of Denver. After a run in the unseasonably warmed March weather with around a dozen friends, group founder Ross Villeneuve, his girlfriend Anne Marie Cernera and Ross’ father, Wayne — all those in favour of Democrat — lamented that more had not been found on Trump.

“It stimulates me more excited” for 2020, said Ross Villeneuve over a pint of beer. “I envision people will be a little more accused because we are the ones who can change it now, we are the next oppose. Where Congress isn’t actually doing anything or didn’t have any plans to do anything, we will( oust Trump) the old-fashioned way.”

Cernera didn’t entirely agree. She “whole-heartedly” dreads 2020, she said, because she believes Trump “actually has a shot again, ” a reality she described as “bat s–t crazy.”

What they do agree on, nonetheless, is that there are more pressing issues than Russia in 2020.

“In a vacuum , not at all, ” Cernera said when asked how often she would like her eventual 2020 nominee to talk about Russia, “because I guess the people are convinced already in either direction. I don’t think facts operate, this is such an emotional debate , not a factual debate.”

Brett Butler, a 31 -year-old Democrat and program manager at an education non-profit in suburban Denver, worries that if Democrats expend too much hour on Mueller, it could play into Trump’s hands. “It might actually help him if we continue focusing on the investigation, ” said Butler. “The people don’t care.”

Milwaukee County Democratic Party

That’s a lesson that some of the newest the representatives of the House learned last year, when Democrat swept into the majority in the legislative body by focusing on other issues, a direct acceptance that Russia was not a motivating issue.

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