As you may have heard this week, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort got indicted on Monday and it was revealed that a minor Trump campaign volunteer had pleaded guilty to lying about the Russians.
The media being who they are, and it being Halloween season, everyone decided to get on their Woodward and Bernstein costumes and pretend they were in “All the President’s Men.”
Chris Cillizza, CNN’s paragon of subtlety, wrote on Monday that “what Papadopolous has already admitted to doing — lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian operatives regarding ‘dirt’ on Trump’s general election opponent — is a very big deal. A bigger deal — in terms of the investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the election and allegations of collusion — than the dozen counts laid out in the Manafort indictment. And the day is still young!”
However, while individuals like Cillizza were getting themselves caffeine-high giddy over these revelations, those who do not share his political prejudices were already tired out of the Russia scare.
That’s at least the takeaway from a new survey conducted by the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling, which found that a vast majority of President Donald Trump’s voters wanted him to remain as president even if his campaign had colluded with the Russians.
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The headline on The Hill coverage must have been painful for the mainstream media to admit, but it really said it all: “Poll: Vast majority of Trump voters say he should stay in office even if Russia collusion is proven.”
The numbers were buried in a poll that generally tried to trumpet how unpopular the president is, with 49 percent favoring impeaching him and showing the president doing poorly in hypothetical 2020 matchups. It’s worth noting, however, that Public Policy Polling has found a plurality of voters willing to impeach Trump for six months running, and its polling on Trump’s presidential chances was infamously wrong back in 2016. But I digress.
Trump voters haven’t budged in their support.
“Only 7 percent believe that members of Trump’s campaign team worked in association with Russia to help him win the election, to 83 percent who don’t think that happened,” the poll found.
“And even if collusion is proven, they don’t care — just 11 percent think Trump should resign if that’s the case to 79 percent who believe he should remain in office. Seventy-five percent dismiss the entire Russia story as ‘fake news,’ to 13 percent who disagree with that assessment.”
It’s worth noting that the poll, released Tuesday, was mostly conducted before the indictments were unsealed. However, behind the dire numbers Public Policy Polling put forth was another story entirely: While liberals think this is worse than Watergate, conservatives are far more blasé about it.
The worst possible thing that you could take from Monday’s indictments was that, through the person of junior volunteer George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign colluded with some Russian figures to try to get dirt on their opponent.
You know, the same thing that Hillary Clinton and the DNC did through Fusion GPS.
That hasn’t actually been proven, though, and the meetings that 30-year-old Papadopoulos bragged about setting up either never actually happened or haven’t been substantiated, leading one to believe this was a low-level braggart whose entreaties went mostly unheard with campaign higher-ups.
Papadopoulos may end up being somethingburger-ish (I wouldn’t get my hopes up), but the Manafort charges were a confirmed nothingburger. In a 31-page indictment, Trump wasn’t mentioned once, and almost everything in it happened long before Manafort became campaign manager.
We’ll certainly see, as this develops in the coming weeks, whether this is anything more than just Manafort’s Ukrainian shenanigans and a low-level policy adviser lying to the FBI.
However, given how other events of this sort have turned out for anti-Trumpers — remember how the Comey hearing was going to lead to immediate impeachment, everyone? — I wouldn’t bet on any president besides Donald Trump until at least 2021.
That prospect might scare liberals and the media, but it suits Trump supporters just fine.