Donald Trump Approval Ratings Plummet With Youth Amid Legalities Of Stormy Daniels And Presidential Pardons

Pablo Martinez MonsivaisAP Images

It’s been another week of scandal at the White House. This week’s drama included an interview with a former porn star about an alleged hush money payoff, the resignation of Donald Trump’s personal defense attorney, and increased chatter using the term “presidential pardon.” Yet, older Americans in the 35 plus age category are holding steady when it comes to Donald Trump’s approval ratings, while AP News reported that youth in the 15 to 34 bracket are using words like “twisted” and “disgusting” after a new AP/MTV poll.

There are also reports from Business Insider that the President of the United States is increasingly frustrated over the difficulties of finding another criminal defense attorney, in Washington D.C. Business Insider reported that Donald Trump’s latest legal hire for his criminal defense team is a little-known lawyer that specializes in medieval history and religious freedom, and whose firm of two to 10 employees has a web page that doesn’t work.

So far, these legal troubles have not negatively impacted most of this week’s Trump approval rating polls. In fact, the president’s approval rating has slightly ticked up in many polls this week according toWestern Journal.

Both CNN and the Associated Press have conducted polls this week that showed Donald Trump’s approval rating rising from an average of 35 percent to 42 percent. A Morning Consult/Politico poll revealed that the majority of Americans at 56 percent believed the president had an affair with Stormy Daniels, but it did not appear to negatively impact his approval ratings, at least in those polls.

Syracuse University professor Robert J. Thompson said he believes that the opinions of Americans on the morality of their president is already “baked in the cake.”

In other words, Trump voters voted for him knowing there could be some “morality” questions with their president and are not surprised or perturbed by these latest scandals. Although many voters may not have been swayed by the Stormy Daniels interview, the youth of America expressed different approval ratings for Trump that have more to do with his policy.

Some in the 15 to 34 years old category said in a new poll that they find him “twisted” and “disgusting,

” and over 60 percent said that he is mentally unfit. The more significant concerns were DACA, immigration, race, and how they perceived that Donald Trump is setting the progress of the LGBTQ community back.

A new AP/MTV poll found that the overwhelming majority of youth polled in America were very displeased with the president, especially when it came to the issues. A common theme among youth polled was disappointment over a president that they felt doesn’t care about them.

AP News reported that only 33 percent of youth from the ages of 15 to 34 approved of the president’s job performance. One 27-year-old from Montana told AP the following.

“Trump doesn’t care about us. I’m not going to say he’s unfit like he has schizophrenia. I do kind of thing he’s twisted in the head. He just comes off as disgusting to me.”

AP News reported that 47 percent of the youth surveyed said they were personally paying closer attention to politics than ever before. Two in 10 respondents said they became more politically active since the election. More than seven in 10 reported that the president “doesn’t reflect my personal values.” Meghan Carnes, a 23-year-old from New York City, took issue with the president’s stance on social matters.

“He doesn’t seem to be really for women. He doesn’t seem to be for Black Lives Matter. He doesn’t seem to be for DACA. He doesn’t seem to be for the kids worried about guns. It’s extremely disappointing to have a president who doesn’t seem to care.”

A majority of the youth polled described the president as “mentally unfit” at 60 percent, 62 percent described him as “generally dishonest,” and 63 percent described him as a racist. Spencer Buettgenbach, a 23-year-old gay man from Kansas, had harsh words about the president, saying the president normalized “abusive talk.”

“Especially living in Kansas – for me as a gay man – it’s kind of scary. He’s like the world’s worst boogeyman.”

One of Trump’s own voters described him as a child but questioned the allegations of mental unfitness.

“If he was mentally unfit, I don’t think he would have made as much money as he did, but I can see why people would think that. I’m not a fan of his incessant need for Twitter. He acts like a child.”

The Youth Political Pulse poll was conducted between February 22 and March 9 of this year by the AP-NORC Center and MTV. That poll was taken before the Stormy Daniels interview and also before the president’s personal criminal defense attorney resigned this past week.

Stormy Daniels speaks during an event.
Featured image credit: Hoo-Me.com Media Punch/IPX/AP Images

And while the Stormy Daniels interview may not have had a negative impact on Trump approval ratings as of yet, the legal problems surrounding that interview are still very much ongoing.

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing the president in an effort to be released from a nondisclosure agreement she signed just days before the November 2016 election. She was reportedly paid $130,000 not to speak about an alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump that she says occurred in 2006.

In her interview with 60 Minutes this past week, she told Anderson Cooper she felt bullied into signing the document. Donald Trump, referred to as “DD” in the document, did not sign the agreement, and Clifford’s lawyer says that’s a problem for Mr. Trump.

Alternatively, Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is suing Stephanie Clifford for $20 million in damages for violating the agreement. The agreement stipulates that she must pay one million dollars for every time she violates the agreement.

But it is unclear as to whether or not Stephanie Clifford must pay damages if she does not tell the truth. If her story is false, it would be unclear how she could be held liable for damages as most non-disclosures are designed to protect the truth.

Donald Trump is suing Clifford for $20 million. White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said the following on the matter this week.

“The president doesn’t believe that any of the claims Ms. Daniels made in the interview are accurate. My understanding is that she signed the statements that conflict with what she said last night.”

It was revealed on 60 Minutes that a legal problem could occur for the president that is much bigger than any civil matter arising from this non-disclosure agreement. There remains a question of who gave Stormy Daniels the $130 thousand payoff, which she admits to receiving. If it were Michael Cohen acting alone, there would be no potential problems for Donald Trump.

However, the Federal Election Commission stated on 60 Minutes that with this agreement being signed just over a week from the November 2016 election, questions about stretching campaign contributions maximums come into play.

So far, these matters aren’t impacting Donald Trump’s approval ratings, as he has seen record-high numbers in most polls but for those with youth. Donald Trump’s approval ratings are still not hitting the majority mark yet, though.

And Stormy Daniels is only one of Donald Trump’s many legal problems. In a separate report, Business Insider noted that legal questions are circulating over presidential pardons allegedly being “dangled” to defendants in the Trump Russia probe.

Donald Trump’s primary criminal defense attorney, John Dowd, resigned this week after it became known that he may have offered presidential pardons to former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chair Paul Manafort. Both Manafort and Flynn are defendants in the criminal justice system and have been indicted over actions allegedly related to the Trump Russia probe.

The New York Times reported this week that Dowd “dangled the possibility of a presidential pardon” to both Flynn and Manafort. The Washington Post confirmed the story this week as well. John Dowd denied those allegations.

The legal question that arises from this development is whether or not the president knew about this alleged offer, which neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post were able to confirm one way or another. Legal experts say it is unlikely that a presidential pardon could even be discussed with anybody without the president being aware of it. Cornell Law School vice dean Jens David Ohlin said: “there’s little precedent for this” also noting that the process of pardons doesn’t even begin with the president.

“Pardons are supposed to be a final check against overcriminalization, not a get-out-of jail free card for administration insiders. The President’s personal attorney shouldn’t be discussing them at all.”

The process for a defendant or accused seeking presidential pardon begins with the Department of Justice. First, the Department of Justice performs a review of the case and sends a file with their recommendation to the White House. The White House Counsel’s office then reviews the file and submits it to the president for a final decision.

But Business Insider noted that a presidential pardon is tricky for defendants, as once that is invoked, they lose their right to plead the Fifth Amendment in legal proceedings. They also could be compelled to testify before a grand jury on matters related to the actions they are accused of.

White House Counsel Ty Cobb said he had not heard any chatter at all of a presidential pardon. But Reuters noted that Ty Cobb also did not expect the Trump Russia probe to go on this long. In an August 2017 interview with Reuters, Ty Cobb said the probe from Robert Mueller wouldn’t last long and that he would be embarrassed if the investigation was still haunting the White House in 2018.

Ty Cobb has also said he has heard nothing about the president hoping to fire Mueller. There are also rumors circulating that Ty Cobb is next on the chopping block when it comes to presidential firings.

While Donald Trump’s approval ratings appeared to increase in many voters but for the youth of America, it appears that his legal problems appear to be mounting as well. Reuters noted that earlier in March, Washington lawyer Emmet Flood met with the president for a possible legal position at the White House. Emmet Flood helped President Bill Clinton during his impeachment hearings.