- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2017

Despite the intricacies of the Russian collusion investigation, voters have some clear opinions about the situation, according to a wide-ranging Harvard Center for American Political Studies-Harris survey — which weighs in at 204 pages. It is a long poll, and a telling one: A majority of American voters say special counsel Robert Mueller has a “conflict of interest” in the investigation.

The poll found that 54 percent of the voters agreed that “as the former head of the FBI and a friend of James Comey,” Mr. Mueller has a conflict of interest in the proceedings. Of course there is a partisan divide here: 70 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agreed. Among those who voted for President Trump in 2016, it was 73 percent; among Hillary Clinton voters, 34 percent.

Has the investigation itself revealed any evidence of collusion? Thirty eight percent of the voters overall said that no evidence of such activities had been found, 35 percent said there was evidence, while 27 percent did not know the answer. Three fourths of the respondents also believe that “the special counsel is trying to make a case for obstruction of justice against the president,” the poll found. More numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

PAGING MR. SESSIONS

Just a comment from Rep. Matt Gaetz — Florida Republican and a member of the House Judiciary Committee — made during a discussion with Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade. The pair were discussing the aforementioned investigation into potential “Russia collusion” and the Trump campaign.

“Where in the hell is our attorney general? We need Attorney General Sessions to step up, do his job, seize control of the nightmare that is this investigation and let’s get some unbiased people involved in looking at the facts and it’s time for Bob Mueller to put up or shut up. If he’s got evidence of collusion let’s see it and if he doesn’t let’s move on and get to the issues can improve quality of life for the American people,” Mr. Gaetz observed.

CAPPING IT ALL OFF

Here’s a resource for gift-givers seeking items made in America. That would be Stormy Kromer, founded in 1903 by George “Stormy” Kromer in Ironwood, Michigan. The company offers a splendid array of sturdy flannel caps for men, women and children plus mittens, shirts, bandannas, cozy vests, purses and other fare. Lots of it. The company reveres its founder.

“He simply wanted a piece of headgear that worked as hard as he did. One cap led to a thousand and then many millions, but a century later we’re still making products as authentically as the first one — from materials to methods,” they note.

Find them at StormyKromer.com.

“THE NINE MOST TERRIFYING WORDS’

Let us venture back to July 28, 1988, when President Ronald Reagan stood before the Future Farmers of America with an observation about meddlesome feds.

“The 10 most terrifying words in the English language are ‘Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help,’” the 40th president told his young audience. “Well, of course, sometimes government can help and should help — natural disasters like the drought, for example. But we need to look to a future where there’s less, not more, government in our daily lives.”

Americans, apparently, agree with that according to an extensive Pew Research Center study which reveals that the public is not so keen about federal government help in certain circumstances.

Only 26 percent, for example, say the government has done a good job “helping people out of poverty.” Less than a third — 32 percent — say the feds have done a good job managing the U.S. immigration system, while only 36 percent give a thumbs up to federal prowess in “ensuring access to health care.”

Where does big government get accolades? The feds earned their best ratings in “keeping the country safe from terrorism,” favored by 66 percent. Sixty five percent praised the government’s “setting workplace standards,” along with “response to natural disasters” (64 percent), with “ensuring safe food and medicine (61 percent), “strengthening the economy (53 percent) and “maintaining infrastructure (51 percent).

But alas, the trust factor is lousy.

“Only about one-in-five Americans (18 percent) say they trust the federal government to do what is right just about always or most of the time. Two-thirds of Americans say they can trust the government only some of the time, while 14 percent volunteer they can never trust the government,” the poll analysis said. “These attitudes have changed very little over the past decade — from late in George W. Bush’s second term, through Obama’s eight years in office, and Trump’s first year in the White House.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Judy Garland’s Cape Cod-style beach house, built in 1947 on Malibu Beach, California. Three bedrooms, three luxury baths, 1,728 square feet; features vaulted ceilings throughout, wrap-around deck, wide plank white oak floors, transparent fireplace, custom tile. Ten-foot accordion doors open to ocean views; chef’s kitchen with Viking appliance, direct private access to beach. Completely renovated in “elegant casual” style four years ago. Priced at $3.7 million through Compass.com; find the home here.

POLL DU JOUR

76 percent of U.S. voters think the “special counsel” in the Russia investigation is trying to find collusion between President Trump and Russian officials; 69 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats agree.

63 percent of voters overall believe that Justice personnel involved in the both the Clinton email and Russian investigations are “resisting providing Congress with information”; 74 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent overall say “independent counsel Robert Mueller has conflicts of interest as the former head of the FBI and a friend of James Comey” in the investigation; 70 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

36 percent overall say the special counsel has given President Trump’s aides “harsher treatment” during the investigations than Hillary Clinton’s aides; 56 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent say the special counsel does not think a charge of obstruction of justice in the investigation is possible; 31 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harvard CAPS-Harris survey of 1,995 registered U.S. voters conducted between Dec. 8-11.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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