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Politics & Government

Voters In The Swing State Of Pennsylvania React To Mueller Report


The core conclusions from special counsel Robert Mueller gave President Trump cause to claim victory. But Democrats have tons more questions about the details, including instances where President Trump ordered aides to mislead the public. So do Democrats keep investigating? Do voters want them to ahead of the 2020 presidential election? Let's hear from some voters in the swing state of Pennsylvania. NPR's Jeff Brady spoke to Democrats in a key district in the Philadelphia suburbs.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: In downtown West Chester, crews are tearing up and reconstructing the streets. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court did some tearing up and reconstructing of its own before last November's election. The court ruled a Republican-drawn congressional district map unconstitutional. The lines were redrawn and this district, long held by the GOP, turned Democratic. Now local Democrats have strong opinions on the Mueller report that they express even before a reporter finishes the question.

...Mueller report and what they want to see happen next. Do...

IRVING FRIEDLANDER: I want to see the whole damn thing.

BRADY: Irving Friedlander wants the report without redaction. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler plans to issue a subpoena for that. He also asked the Justice Department to let Robert Mueller testify. Friedlander looks forward to that.

I. FRIEDLANDER: I want to see them subpoena Mueller. And I want to see him have to answer every question that the Congress asks.

BRADY: So you don't want to see Democratic leaders drop this at all. You...

I. FRIEDLANDER: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

BRADY: His wife, Elaine Friedlander, agrees but says it's not just about investigating the president.

ELAINE FRIEDLANDER: We've got to do something about this idea that any other country can come here and do things to tamper with our voting. That has to stop.

BRADY: Down the street near the post office, Bill Leman also wants Democratic leaders in Congress to continue working on this investigation.

BILL LEMAN: Push, push, push - because you can't be Mr. Nice Guy with the Republicans, unfortunately. So just keep the pedal to the metal. And, you know, hopefully, we'll get some good results come election time.

BRADY: Pennsylvania narrowly voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Democrats here hope to change that in 2020. As we continue our conversation with Democratic voters in this swing district, some think the Russia investigation could help. Others, like Ned Foulkrod, worry it could backfire. Here's his advice about the investigation to fellow Democrats running for office.

NED FOULKROD: I think they should keep with it. But it doesn't have to be a central focal point of the campaign if they have to repeat every appearance that they make.

BRADY: Down the street, another Democratic voter, Langdon Kane, echoes the backfire worry. She isn't convinced pursuing the Russia investigation will succeed.

LANGDON KANE: I mean, to what end? Well, what's the best-case scenario in the minds of people who would seek obstruction of justice? That he's impeached? Well, great. But we're, you know, two-plus years into a four-year presidency.

BRADY: Kane thinks it's better for Democratic leaders to focus on winning the 2020 election. At Franklin and Marshall College, Terry Madonna directs the Center for Politics and Public Affairs. Overall, he thinks there's little chance further investigation will backfire on the Democrats.

TERRY MADONNA: The only risk is if it's perceived to be unfair and if they travel down the paths that aren't likely to be very fruitful just to make a political point.

BRADY: And Madonna says Democratic candidates will have to focus just as much on policies they support if they want to win suburban voters in this swing state. Jeff Brady, NPR News, West Chester, Pa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.