Now, it’s not like Donald Trump has been particularly popular as President. In fact, by most measures, he is one of the most unpopular Presidents in modern history. However, for the past several months, his approval has held pretty steadily above 40%. And most of that 40% who have approved of Trump are Republicans, which is the party that currently holds majorities in the House and Senate, which is where impeachment would be voted on. As such, Trump has very obviously been waging a PR war against those who are investigating him as well as those who are assisting the investigators, attending rallies in support of Republican candidates, even sending Rudy Giuliani out to cable TV shows to make increasingly spurious legal arguments. He feels that if he can keep that 40% base of support, Republicans in Congress will think twice about voting to remove him from office.
However, that 40% base of support looks like it could be breaking down, and, even more problematic for Trump, his PR war against his investigators and those who are assisting the investigators does not appear to be working.
Disapproval of Donald Trump is at a new high, support for the Mueller investigation is broad and half of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll favor Congress initiating impeachment proceedings against the president. Sixty percent in the national survey disapprove of Trump’s performance in office, numerically the highest of his presidency, albeit by a single point; that includes 53 percent who disapprove strongly, more than half for the first time. Thirty-six percent approve, matching his low.
The national survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that half the public supports Congress initiating impeachment proceedings against Trump, 49-46 percent; support rises to 57 percent among women. And support for the investigation running its course is broader: Americans overall back Mueller’s probe by 63-29 percent. Fifty-two percent support it strongly, a high level of strong sentiment.
Further, while Trump has railed against the Manafort prosecution, Americans call it justified by an overwhelming 67-17 percent, including nearly half of Republicans. The public opposes Trump pardoning Manafort by essentially the same margin, 66-18 percent, with 53 percent strongly opposed. Even among Republicans, 45 percent oppose a Manafort pardon; 36 percent support it.
These numbers are all very bad news for Donald Trump. Because, the constitutional requirement for impeachment is that Donald Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors”, and that looks increasingly to be the case:
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court Tuesday to eight criminal counts and implicated Trump himself in a remarkable courtroom moment.Cohen admitted that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” he kept information that would have harmed Trump from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office is looking into possible criminal charges against the Trump Organization in relation to Michael Cohen’s payment to an adult film actress in exchange for her silence during the presidential campaign, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Cohen, the former lawyer of U.S. President Donald Trump, received $130,000 from Trump Organization, which the company recorded as a legal expense, according to the report, which cited two officials with knowledge of the matter.
But Cohen on Tuesday claimed that the amount he received was for the payment he made to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, during the 2016 presidential election campaign to stop her from going public with her claims about an alleged affair with Trump, the Times reported.
And then there is the Russia investigation, which could also very well result in recommendations of criminal charges, considering the fact that 3 of Trump’s campaign officials have already reached cooperation deals with the government:
1) George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty in October to making false statements to the FBI.
2) Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December to making false statements to the FBI.
4) Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, was indicted on similar charges to Manafort. But in February he agreed to a plea deal with Mueller’s team, pleading guilty to just one false statements charge and one conspiracy charge.
The legal argument for impeachment could likely already be made. And the political argument for impeachment appears to be growing stronger by the day. The only thing that appears to remain steadfast is Trump’s support from the Republicans in Congress. But, if public approval continues to break down, and/or the Republicans lose big in November, they will eventually follow the public. And if that happens, it could be game over for Trump.