As a decisive week of congressional testimony begins, the star of ‘Presidential Apprentice’ is underwater in virtually every opinion poll.
A Gallup tracking poll released today shows that just 36 percent of respondents approve of Donald Trump’s performance in office while 58 percent disapprove. The right-leaning Rasmussen firm reports that 54 percent of voters surveyed disapprove of Trump compared to 46 percent who approve.
Those results follow last week’s POLITICO/Morning Consult poll which found that 43 percent of Americans are ready to see Trump impeached compared to 45 percent who oppose impeachment — numbers that are likely to flip this month, perhaps even by the end of the week.
— Chris Riotta (@chrisriotta) June 5, 2017
Five different people with direct knowledge of Trump’s alleged efforts to obstruct investigations of his Russian influence scandals are set to testify before Congress this week.
National Security Agency director Adm. Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats are set to appear before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in both open and closed sessions. They are expected to confirm that Trump asked their help in his efforts to obstruct justice.
Appearing on Ari Melber’s MSNBC show yesterday, Steve Clemons, a policy analyst for The Atlantic, said that “Rogers may have a bomb to drop in this as well as Dan Coats.”
“I have been tipped off that Mike Rogers has a story to tell,” Clemons said, pointing to fellow panelist David Corn, who wrote in Mother Jones yesterday that “Trump and his crew were active enablers of Putin’s operation to subvert an American election.”
Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is also set to testify before the committee. So is Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI. The topic of the hearing will be Sec. 702, a controversial part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that is set to expire at the end of the year unless it is renewed.
Republicans on the Senate panel are holding up the renewal process over accusations that Trump campaign figures were improperly “unmasked” by the Obama administration — a dubious charge that has nevertheless provided a helpful distraction from the growing body of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian election hackers.
Finally, Comey will appear before the committee on Thursday to lay out a timeline of Trump’s obstruction. While Trump could try to block Comey’s testimony under the rubric of executive privilege, his many public statements on the matter will make such an assertion very difficult to sustain.
The last three weeks have deeply damaged the president with a relentless drip-drip-drip of revelations, but all of this testimony could inflict a fatal wound on the Donald Trump presidency.
“Whereas Trump enjoyed record-high popularity near the end of his first trip abroad since assuming the Oval Office (nearing 42 percent or above in several polls and indexes),” writes Chris Riotta at Newsweek, “now he is once again in the historic territory of being one of the least popular new presidents in modern American history.”
Nothing about this week’s schedule promises to improve that situation for him.
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