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Mueller dashes GOP's midterm hopes: Probe will stretch through 2018

Heading into a treacherous midterm election season with a historically unpopular Republican president who is repelling suburban voters, it looks like the GOP will have to deal with another electoral anchor in 2018: special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling probe into possible criminal wrongdoing by Donald Trump’s campaign. Shattering the White House happy talk about Mueller’s […]

By Eric Boehlert - December 19, 2017
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Special counsel Robert Mueller
Special counsel Robert Mueller

Heading into a treacherous midterm election season with a historically unpopular Republican president who is repelling suburban voters, it looks like the GOP will have to deal with another electoral anchor in 2018: special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling probe into possible criminal wrongdoing by Donald Trump’s campaign.

Shattering the White House happy talk about Mueller’s investigation wrapping up soon, the Washington Post reports there are at least 12 more months to go.

“The special counsel’s office has continued to request new documents related to the campaign, and members of Mueller’s team have told others they expect to be working through much of 2018, at a minimum,” the Post reports.

Mueller’s team has already secured two guilty pleas from key players on Trump’s election team, including his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who’s now cooperating with prosecutors.

The extended probe is likely to inflame Trump’s fragile ego, especially since White House lawyers “have told the president he could be exonerated as early as the beginning of the year, after previously reassuring him that he would be cleared by Thanksgiving and Christmas,” according to the Post.

With the investigation up and running throughout 2018, it’s certainly possible more indictments and guilty pleas will be announced as voters get ready to the go the polls. We know that the trial of Paul Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign manager, is expected to begin next spring.

News that Mueller’s investigation could still be churning through documents and witnesses all the way through next year’s elections means the GOP simply won’t be able to get away from the story.

Republican candidates will constantly be forced to answer why the Republican president who promised to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington, D.C., remains at the center of a corruption investigation.

Meanwhile, the timing could not be worse for Republicans as poll after poll shows them badly trailing Democrats in terms of which party voters want to control Congress. In that generic ballot setting, Democrats are posting historic winning margins by 10 points and more, which is impressive considering how politically polarized the country is today.

The blue wave continues to build in the wake of the stunning Democratic win in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, where the Trump White House went all in on an accused child molester.

Republicans will have a lot to answer for in 2018.


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