February 15, 2017

Ok. So a new WaPo report says that Trump administration officials were in frequent contact with the Russians throughout the campaign. Which is not, by itself, illegal. If they were talking about Pokemon or reruns of Friends. But if they were working to influence the election, that’s different.

So far there is no evidence of wrongdoing, but these feel like dire times for the administration. Which is saying a lot, since they seem to have a new “worst day ever” once or twice a week. The old “what did the president know, and when did he know it?” questions are coming fast and furious. The evidence is piling up. Their credibility is ruined. I don’t see how you recover from this.

I’m not claiming impeachment, necessarily. But on the other hand, it wouldn’t be surprising. Whether he leads for four years, eight years, or ten weeks, I just don’t see how he ever recovers credibility. I just don’t see how he proceeds with anything resembling trust or a mandate.

That said, all the Republicans on TV today are blaming the leaks. Not the actions, the leaks. A crackdown/purge of the intelligence community is sure to come. And the GOP continues to resist hearings and investigations. But I wonder how long they can maintain that posture.

Bibi visits today. There are signs the two leaders are going to abandon the two state solution.

The stock market has been going up, up, up.

Pence is not considered part of the inner circle. There are reports he’s upset. There is speculation he might need to consider being the next president sooner than he was planning.

Russia broke an arms treaty. And buzzed a boat. And are attacking Ukraine again. And there are signs Russia is realizing Trump is a dud for their cause.

NATO has been put on notice. They need to pay more or the US is going to adjust how much it’s willing to pay.

There’s a Breitbart story attacking Preibus. Bannon claims it makes him very upset. Yeah. Ok.

Bannon was asked if he wants to repair the media-WH relationship, and he said he could care less. (The real phrase is he can’t care less, but we know what he means.)

Kellyanne continues to be in trouble. New ethics investigation recommendation yesterday.

It looks like Spicer is going to keep his job. And furthermore, CNN names Kellyanne as the one trying to stir rumors that he’s soon going to be replaced.

Pudzer is out. Not officially, but he has a lot of no votes lined up. (edit later in the day: ok, now it’s official)

An Obamacare replacement was unveiled by Rand Paul. Or at least previewed.

The new NSC guy is going to be Harward. He asked for a few days to think about it, which surprised Trump. Surprise in Trump land tends to mean “annoyance” or “anger.” What I’m hearing is he’s a much more sober pick. Someone who would have a strong idea for how he wants to run things, with strong ideals. Not sure if that’s a match for Trump’s mindset, but ok.

At Gallup, Trump’s approval is holding steady at 40%, and his disapproval has leveled or gone down for 3 days in a row, putting him at 53%. But that’s still 13 points underwater. Which is pretty close to his all time low of 15 underwater.

RealClear’s polling average puts him at -4.9 which is slightly better than a few days ago. His only positive polling is Emerson at +1, Fox at +1, and Rasmussen at +6. Right after his inauguration, Rasmussen had him at +14. So no matter how you slice it, he’s gone downhill in a hurry.

It’s funny how consistent Trump’s polling story is. They’ll say he’s unpopular but Republicans and Democrats are evenly split on him. But there are a few details to work through. First, Democrats outnumber Republicans. Second, his numbers amongst Republicans may be high compared to his Democratic numbers … but compared to other Republican presidents, he’s equal or a bit soft.

So the story can accurately be described as “a divided country” but his numbers are pretty weak no matter how you look at them.

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