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South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Matt Se­den­sky

Former FBI Direc­tor Robert Mueller was named spe­cial coun­sel in the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion in May 2017. We high­light a few of the mile­stones of the probe.

PHILADEL­PHIA — With the long-awaited spe­cial coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion done but its con­tents still shrouded in mys­tery, Amer­i­cans waited for de­tails, yawned with bore­dom or stayed fixed to their long-ce­mented po­si­tions on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the man at the probe’s cen­ter.

For all the ex­pected splash of Robert Mueller’s re­port, it ar­rived with more of a thud, thanks to the se­crecy sur­round­ing it. Few saw any rea­son to think it would sway many opin­ions in a di­vided repub­lic but, across ide­ol­ogy, many ex­pressed re­lief the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was fi­nally over.

Bubba Metts, 61, a con­ser­va­tive who is a fi­nan­cial ad­viser in Lex­ing­ton, S.C., said what­ever Mueller’s re­port says, op­po­nents of Trump aren’t go­ing to change their minds

“Now maybe we can move on to bet­ter things,” he said. “Twenty mil­lion dol­lars spent — for noth­ing.”

Da­jah Har­ris, 21, a col­lege se­nior at Old Do­min­ion Uni­ver­sity in Nor­folk, Va., is a Demo­crat and no fan of Trump.

She saw the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as a dis­trac­tion from more im­por­tant things like the bor­der wall, home­less­ness, col­lege debt and wel­fare pro­grams. The coun­try should never have elected some­one, she said, whose back­ground raises such ques­tions.

“I don’t feel that where the coun­try is right now that this is some­thing we should even be dis­cussing,” she said.

Mueller worked in vir­tual si­lence as a stream of charges have flowed forth against 37 peo­ple and com­pa­nies. From the start, with his ap­point­ment on May 17, 2017, some have framed his work as a bat­tle of good and evil of bib­li­cal pro­por­tions.

And on the 675th day, Mueller fin­ished his work, and he rested. But noth­ing changed for those who had watched and waited.

For Mark Itzen, 64, a so­cial worker from Le­vit­town, Pa., it was a frus­trat­ing re­al­ity.

“The most dis­turb­ing thing for me is that we don’t know the de­tails,” the Demo­crat said. “I thought we have the right to know right off the bat af­ter all this an­tic­i­pa­tion.”

For lib­er­als who wel­comed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion with glee­ful shouts of “It’s Mueller Time!” and anx­iously awaited jus­tice that aligns with their view of Trump as a ne­far­i­ous force, it seemed the end­less bil­lows of smoke would surely pro­duce ev­i­dence of fire.

For con­ser­va­tives who sub­scribed to the pres­i­dent’s view of the probe as a witch hunt and dis­missed it as the mis­guided tom­fool­ery of a bit­ter op­po­si­tion

whose search for ret­ri­bu­tion is as loopy as its poli­cies, it seemed cer­tain to bring ex­on­er­a­tion to Trump and maybe even a road map for fu­ture vic­tory by him and his party.

Ja­son Cox, 51, a farmer in Camp­bellsville, Ky., who voted for Trump in 2016 and plans to do so again next year, saw it the way Trump framed it — as a witch hunt.

“It didn’t turn out, it seems to

me, the way Democrats wanted,” he said.

Stan Pear­son, 69, a re­tired math pro­fes­sor in New­port News, Va., was among Trump de­trac­tors who had high hopes for the re­port: The start of im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings and charges of trea­son. He called Trump’s elec­tion the “worst ex­per­i­ment ever in our his­tory,” and is not con­vinced At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr will re­lease the full re­port.

“We may well have to set­tle for what we can sal­vage,” Pear­son said.

Barr was on pace to re­lease his first sum­mary of Mueller’s find­ings Sun­day, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the process said.

Tom Mer­rill, 35, a health pol­icy re­search con­sul­tant in Salt Lake City and left-lean­ing in­de­pen­dent voter, said peo­ple on ei­ther end of the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum will likely find things in the re­port to sup­port their point of view, but the re­sults might sway some

mod­er­ates who held their noses and voted for Trump de­spite lin­ger­ing ques­tions about his char­ac­ter.

“Peo­ple in the mid­dle might say, I took a risk in vot­ing for this per­son and this is more than I bar­gained for,” he said. “I think the mid­dle will be­come de­cided one way or the other.”

Shaela and Cindy Buchanan were tack­ling chores Sat­ur­day at the Lost Sock Laun­dro­mat in Wi­chita, Kan­sas, when the topic of Mueller was raised.

“Which one is Mueller?” asked Cindy Buchanan, 51, a man­ager at a paint com­pany.

She doesn’t fol­low pol­i­tics closely but liked Trump at first. The ques­tions about Rus­sia, though, caused her to re­con­sider.

Her wife, Shaela Buchanan, 48, who con­sid­ers her­self a po­lit­i­cal in­de­pen­dent, sees Trump as “bought and paid for” while reg­u­lar peo­ple live pay­check to pay­check.

CAROLYN KASTER/AP

Sup­port­ers of Don­ald Trump are seen in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Sat­ur­day, just one day af­ter it was an­nounced that spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller has sub­mit­ted his re­port.

Har­ris

Pear­son

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