Trump Approval Rating Drops As Obstruction Of Justice Probe Reportedly Picks Up Steam

The majority of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump’s performance as the current president of the United States, with over 50 percent disapproval in even conservative leaning polls. Trump’s approval rating today falls just 10 points above Richard Nixon’s 24 percent approval rating in play at the time that President Nixon resigned from office over the Watergate scandal. Worse for Trump, news broke Thursday that federal prosecutor Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation is picking up steam, as Trump lawyers have been unsuccessfully working to have him exonerated from the allegations reports the Wall Street Journal.

Newsweek reported that Friday’s Gallup daily tracking survey has Trump’s approval rating today at 34 percent, a number that is “tied for his lowest mark ever.” Disapproval in the Gallup poll sits at 60 percent, meaning 60 percent of those surveyed disapprove of his job performance.

A number of Trump approval rating polls out this week show similar numbers, even conservative leaning polls. Rasmussen Reports, a conservative outlet that typically is not transparent in their methodology have Trump’s approval at 42 percent, with 56 percent disapproving of his job performance.

Donald Trump’s actions in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville protests are being touted as a key factor in the plummeting of his latest approval ratings. Even Fox News is reporting that their approval rating poll shows that over half surveyed at 56 percent “don’t think Trump respects racial minorities.”

[Image by Todd Kirkland/AP Images]

In the wake of the Charlottesville protests and counter-protests where one person died, Donald Trump said, “I think there’s blame on both sides.” The latest approval rating polls, particularly those from Fox News reflect that most Americans do not agree. In the Fox News poll, 52 percent of voters blamed white supremacists for the deadly violence, while only 17 percent blamed the counter-protests.

Even more astonishing, in the same poll, 70 percent of voters said they believe that the president dislikes the media more than he dislikes white supremacists. The Fox News poll also showed that only 35 percent of voters are satisfied with the direction of the country, and 64 percent said they were not happy. Both Democrats and Republicans were polled in the Fox News survey.

Fifty-six percent of those surveyed also noted that they believe Trump is “tearing the country apart” while only 33 percent said they believe he is uniting America. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans in that poll agreed that the country is not united at this time, and that is because of Donald Trump.

The numbers echo a Pew Research Center poll that illustrated that Republicans are “divided” on where they stand with Donald Trump. The majority of voters in that poll at 58 percent said they either had “mixed feelings” about the president or simply don’t like “the way Donald Trump conducts himself as president.”

The latest Trump approval ratings show that Donald Trump’s base is shrinking, and he’s continuing to lose support with his own party. Only 45 percent agree with the president on “no or almost no” issues, and 21 percent agree with him on just a few issues. Thirty-one percent of Republicans agree with him on almost all issues, and 30 percent agree with him on few or no issues.

Democrats are broad sweeping in their opinions, with over 70 percent leaning Democrats saying they do not agree with Trump on anything.

An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Thursday showed similar numbers in Trump’s approval with a 36 percent approval rating and 61 percent disapproval rating.

Additionally, the Harvard University Center for American Political Studies has released their monthly national poll on Trump’s approval ratings. Their findings are interesting when it comes to what Americans want to do about Donald Trump. Previous polls on Trump approval rating and Americans thoughts towards impeachment illustrated that four in 10 Americans wanted to impeach Trump.

Impeach Trump Graduate
[Image by Seth Wenig/AP Images]

Harvard University Center reports that number has risen slightly, with 43 percent saying he should be impeached. That is up from 41 percent that favored Trump impeachment in a Monmouth University Poll in July of this year. In the Harvard University Center for American Political Studies poll released this week, 43 percent said Trump should be impeached, 42 percent said nothing should be done, and 12 percent felt a censure from Congress would be appropriate.

Time Magazine reports those numbers favoring Trump impeachment are well above the support for a Nixon impeachment. When Nixon was impeached by the House, before he resigned, only 24 percent of Americans favored Nixon impeachment.

Impeachment is a penalty for misconduct or a high crime or misdemeanor as defined by the Constitution. Congress is the body that determines what constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor. For impeachment of any president to occur, articles of impeachment must first pass the House of Representatives.

That decision is then taken to the upper chamber of the Senate where an impeachment trial is held. Two-thirds of the Senate must vote to impeach. Impeachment trials are presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, currently John Roberts who has been Chief Justice since 2005.

[Image by Bebeto Matthews/AP Images]

Although articles of impeachment have been filed against Donald Trump, the lower chamber of the House of Representatives has yet to act on them. Thus even the possibility of a Trump impeachment, even one welcomed by four in 10 Americans, is far off.

However, grounds for a Trump impeachment are being speculated on every day, including possible collusion with Russia to take the election and the Oval Office. His polarizing comments following Charlottesville have also been cited as possible reasons. But most recently, allegations of obstruction of justice have made it into mainstream conversation again.

Today, Donald Trump tweeted some upset with both former FBI Director James Comey and also former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump appeared upset that Hillary Clinton was exonerated, but of what charges he feels she was exonerated from remain unclear as Hillary Clinton was never charged with any crime.

This tweet comes on the heels of a new report by the Wall Street Journal that reports that Donald Trump’s defense team have been seeking to have him exonerated of obstruction of justice charges. The Washington Post reported in June that federal prosecutor Robert Mueller was investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice, an obstruction of justice that may have occurred if he fired former FBI Director James Comey for not dropping the investigation into Michael Flynn.

CNN reports that Donald Trump’s defense team has been preparing memos and been in talks with Robert Mueller to make the case to defend Donald Trump’s actions of firing James Comey. Trump’s defense team allege that Trump was within his Constitutional rights to fire James Comey, and that it could not have been obstruction of justice.

Trump’s lawyers are also seeking to discredit James Comey before he even has an opportunity to testify on the matter, arguing he is an “admitted leaker.” Mark Kasowitz, former leader of Trump’s legal team, has issued a statement on the matter.

“The President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stopped investigating anyone.”

But, in a now famous interview with Lester Holt of MSNBC, Trump said that when he fired Comey he was thinking about “that Russia thing.”

The revelation today that Trump’s defense team has contacted special prosecutor, paid for by federal tax dollars, suggests that the obstruction of justice investigation into Donald Trump is closing in. One former United States Attorney, who was fired by Donald Trump, Preet Bharara, tweeted that the very act of the defense team going formal about the obstruction of justice investigation is regulatory.

“There may never be any charges, but defense lawyers don’t [usually] waste time on preemptive memos re: frivolous theories of criminal guilt. The possibility that POTUS may have obstructed justice is real and serious. Apparently, even Trump’s defense lawyers get that.”

Bharara’s initial statement was validated by Joyce Alene, a University of Alabama Law Professor and former United States Attorney under the Obama Administration. She quoted Bharara’s tweet and said the following.

“In fact, most defense lawyers wouldn’t dignify a prosecutor’s allegation of a specific crime w/a written response unless charges were close.”

Whether or not obstruction of justice charges are “close” remains to be seen. But, in addition to Trump’s sinking approval ratings and rise in favor for a Trump impeachment, there are some public signs that the Mueller investigation is picking up steam. Defense lawyers touching base with the federal prosecutor are one sign.

Another sign of the “intensifying” investigation is the recent move that Robert Mueller has made public that he is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reports Politico. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is the State Attorney that won the 25 million lawsuit against Trump for Trump University. He was also the subject of a hit piece sub-titled “Clockwork Eric” in The Observer, an outlet owned by Jared Kushner Trump’s son-in-law.

It’s a tricky move on Mueller’s part, as he is reportedly working with Eric Schneiderman to investigate money laundering and financial crimes. Paul Manafort is reportedly a key target in that investigation, although he has not been accused of a crime. His home however was the subject of an executed search raid early last month.

If criminal charges arise out of that collaboration, they would be immune from any potential Trump pardons as Trump does not have authority under the Constitution to pardon state crimes. It appears with this move that Robert Mueller has removed at least one Trump card.

With that, Trump’s approval rating continues to drop, and his own voters continue to leave him or tweet their disappointment to him. One Trump voter recently hinted Trump should resign out of self-preservation and tweeted the following.

“I voted for you and I trusted you, but I know that they got to you. I will not judge you if you decide to resign out of self-preservation.”

It’s a reflection that suggests Trump’s approval rating is consistently dropping as a result of a presidency mired by scandal. While Trump maintains a base, many of his own voters are struggling to stay on, resulting in low approval ratings one week after another. Whether this will ultimately lead to resignation or Trump impeachment remains to be seen.

[Feature Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]