Frustration. Relief. Indifference.
Bostonians had varied reactions Sunday to the bombshell news that special counsel Robert Mueller had found no evidence that President Donald J. Trump or his campaign had colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
But no one seemed particularly shocked.
“I expected it,” said Kayla Dalton, 18, an independent voter and freshman at Suffolk University. “The only way he’ll be kicked out of office is if he isn’t re-elected.”
In a four-page letter provided Sunday to members of Congress, Attorney General William Barr wrote that Mueller’s findings indicated no evidence of collusion — but drew no conclusion as to whether the President had obstructed justice.
And on an unseasonably warm afternoon, reaction among many traversing Boston Common broke along familiar partisan lines while many shrugged off the news.
Peter Snoad, 69, of Jamaica Plain, was sharing a cup of ice cream with his wife on the Common as news of Mueller’s findings spread.
Despite the report’s findings, he said, he still believes that the president is guilty of wrongdoing.
“Trump is going to probably claim he was exonerated and that there was no collusion,” said Snoad. He pointed to the dozens of people already indicted in Mueller’s probe, including Trump’s campaign manager, national security advisor, and deputy campaign manager.
Snoad’s wife, Mindy Fried, 68, echoed similar sentiments, saying Mueller’s investigation is “just the beginning” of obstacles that Trump is likely to face during the remainder of his administration.
“It’s not shocking this wasn’t a revelatory thing,” she said. But she added, “His administration and his family are going to be plagued by continuous investigations for the next two years.”
Mike Martin, 51, who voted for Trump and described himself as a libertarian conservative, said he “never believed the whole collusion thing anyway.”
“I expected them to find basically nothing, nothing chargeable or indictable,” said Martin, who was visiting from Texas. “If something was there, it would have been leaked out before now.”
Martin went on to praise Trump’s restraint in recent days, as word of the report’s imminent filing generated headlines across the world.
“I’m really surprised he’s reacted this professionally thus far,” he said. “How I hope he would respond would be to clean up the FBI and the Department of Justice.”
Others took the news in stride or tried to put it in perspective.
“It’s kind of along the basis of what I expected,” said Erika Rockwell, enjoying the spring weather with her 9-month-old daughter, Kaia. “I never thought he colluded with Russia. That all seemed like heresay and the media trying to pit us against each other.”
Rockwell added that there may be “shady” things that the president and his administration have done, but she doesn’t believe that he actively committed a crime.
“Everything he does is to save face,” she said. “But I don’t think he would purposefully commit treason.”
Despite Sunday’s news, questions remain as to what else might be contained in Mueller’s report — which Barr said he plans to make public after redacting any protected information.
Ken Segal, 68, an independent from Brunswick, Maine, said he was anxious to hear what representatives in Congress would determine once they were able to read the full version.
“I’m not sure whether the whole report was released to Congress so it remains to be seen,” he said, walking through the Common with his wife, Judy, on their way to a movie Sunday. “I would prefer the whole thing be released... I’m hoping Congress can get a whole copy so they can make their own decisions.”
Others wondered, too, whether the report might might dissuade other government institutions from investigating Trump in the future.
“People are just going to stop trying,” said Jessica Downing, 25, a registered Democrat from Brighton. “They’ll be afraid of him being innocent again. And his supporters will say, ‘Hey, stop wasting everyone’s money doing this.’”
As for how she thought Trump might react to Sunday’s news, she replied, “I’m sure it’ll be a tweet in all caps.”
And she was right.
Trump’s official response, via Twitter: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,” he tweeted. “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”Sophia Eppolito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dugan Arnett can be reached email@example.com.