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Special counsel Robert Mueller dominated headlines for 22 months. He may continue to do so, even now that his investigation has concluded.
President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign plans to keep talking about the conclusions reached by the former FBI director until November 2020, nearly 600 days away, a spokesperson for the campaign told CNBC on Monday.
"In addition to the President's undeniable record of success for the American people, rest assured that you will be hearing about the Democrats' collusion and obstruction lies and President Trump's full vindication between now and Election Day," Kayleigh McEnany, the campaign's national press secretary, said in an email.
The announcement comes as the president makes a dramatic turnaround on his attitude toward the special counsel, whose investigation the president once called a "disgrace to our Nation."
Over the weekend, Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers that Mueller did not find evidence that the president or his team conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 election. On Monday, Trump told reporters that he believed Mueller acted honorably.
Trump's eagerness to talk about Mueller stands out in comparison to his potential opponents. The wide field of Democratic contenders has been unified on avoiding Russian interference as a central aspect of their campaigns while calling for Mueller's findings to be made public.
Policy is also on the minds of Democratic voters in key early states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. At town halls, nearly three-quarters of the questions that get asked are about policy, according to Michael Starr Hopkins, a spokesperson for John Delaney, a moderate who has been crisscrossing the early states as a declared candidate since 2017.
"Sixty to 70 percent [of questions] are about health care, mental health, guns," Hopkins said in an interview.
A focus on policy is a solid strategy, according to Larry Sabato, a top elections analyst who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
"On policy Democrats have a wide choice of subjects that would give a favorable contrast with Trump — climate change, health care, and economic fairness, just to mention three," Sabato said in an email.
Sabato said that it was unlikely that the Mueller probe would figure prominently in the 2020 election — and especially unlikely that it will affect the vote. As usual, he said, the outcome will depend on factors that neither Democrats nor Republicans control, with economic issues at the fore.
But that won't stop Trump, with some help from Republicans on the hill, from continuing to talk about Mueller.
Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the influential Judiciary Committee, made that clear in a press conference Monday in which he praised Mueller's work but pledged to unpack "the other side of the story."
Graham was referring to the origins of the FBI investigation that Mueller took over — Republicans have alleged impropriety regarding the information that was used to obtain warrants — as well as the probe into former Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton's handling of classified materials.
"The FISA warrant, the Clinton campaign, the counterintelligence investigation have pretty much been swept under the rug except for by a few Republicans in the House," Graham told reporters. "Those days are over."