We’re officially one year into the Russia investigation and Americans are as divided as ever on the probe. A poll last month showed 82 percent of Democrats said Robert Mueller’s investigation should continue, compared to just 18 percent of Republicans.
To get a sense of why the special counsel's probe into whether the Trump campaign had anything to do with Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election is so divisive, VICE News talked to people in two of the most politically polarized counties in the country: Winston County, Alabama, and Bronx County, New York. The former is deeply red, and the latter is deeply blue.
People in both counties and on both sides of the aisle told us they’re tired of the investigation and hope it will end soon. But they view the probe very differently: Republicans think it’s a witch hunt while Democrats think it’s legitimate.
Republicans’ and Democrats’ divergent views of the investigation may have something to do with where they get their news. People we talked to in Winston County told us they watch Fox News exclusively, whereas people we talked to in Bronx County said the same about MSNBC.
Since Mueller took charge of the investigation on May 17, 2017, he’s charged 19 people with crimes, secured five guilty pleas — three from Trump campaign advisers — and sent one person to prison. But the question he was appointed to answer — Did the Trump campaign collude with Russia? — is still a mystery to the public.
Public opinion of the investigation matters because the end game here will be political. If Mueller finds information implicating Trump, he likely won’t be able to indict the president, meaning it will be up to Congress to decide whether to punish the president with impeachment. Trump’s effort to discredit the Mueller and the investigation is in full swing, and it’s working.