In January 2017, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a campaign designed to harm the electoral chances of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, faith in the US electoral system, and increase political instability in the United States.
Since Trump’s inauguration, these questions over the extent of the contact between his campaign and Russian government agents has loomed over his presidency.
Although there is debate over the specific forms and extent of the direct contact between the Trump campaign and Russia, that it occurred and that elements of the campaign hoped it would benefit them during the 2016 US presidential election are now largely beyond dispute. To ascertain the rest, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, established a Special Counsel in May 2017. He placed Robert Mueller in charge of the investigation, with a charter to determine if there was any Russian interference in the 2016 election process, or related matters, and prosecutorial powers.
In the nearly two years it has been running, the Mueller investigation has resulted in dozens of indictments for federal crimes and eight (publicly known) guilty pleas or convictions. In the process it has generated considerable media coverage and public interest.
To discover what Australians and Americans have taken from the process so far, and what they believe the likely near-term outcome for the US president will be, the United States Studies Centre (USSC) and YouGov polled 1,000 respondents in the United States and 1,029 in Australia in late January 2019.