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Midday Briefing: Donald Trump Admits Collusion, Says Everybody Does It

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 17, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 17, 2017 |

— There are new polls out this morning, and they don’t do any favors to Donald Trump. His approval rating has dropped to 36 percent, which is the lowest approval rating for a President at the six month mark in 70 years. Moreover, while he has a 58 percent disapproval rating, 48 percent “strongly disapprove,” which is the highest that number has ever been for a President except for George W. Bush in his second term. Moreover, now 70 percent of respondents say that Trump is not “presidential,” although 18 percent of those people say it doesn’t matter.

According to that poll, it also seems that Trump’s efforts to gaslight the meeting between Don Jr. and Russians isn’t completely working. Only 26 percent of people think the meeting was appropriate compared to 63 percent who do not.

Speaking of which, Trump has tweeted just once today, so far, but in that tweet, he basically concedes that his son committed collusion.

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In the process, he also admits that the White House lied their fool asses off all last week.

— As for the latest on the health care bill? There’s still two solid No’s from Collins and Rand Paul, while several others are on the fence. The vote has been pushed back until John McCain recovers from a surgery, presumably next week, although medical experts say that it could take longer to recover. That’ll give opponents more time to attack the new bill, but also gives Republicans more time to rally those on the fence. Most people on both sides believe that the longer the bill is delayed, the less likely it will be passed. We just need one, and Heller, Flake, Murkowski, Caputo, and Portman remain our best bets.

— Speaking of Flake, out in Arizona, one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans in the 2018 midterms is Jeff Flake, a vocal opponent of President Trump, who is now being squeezed by his own party. Trump is meeting with potential challengers to the right of Flake, while Flake is also being pressured to jump back on Team Trump. Flake, like Nevada’s Dean Heller, represents the danger that Trump poses to moderate Republicans, especially in purple states. Being a Republican instantly makes you unlikable to Democrats, while opposing Trump makes it difficult with Trump’s base. What’s likely to happen in Arizona and Nevada is that a Trump Republican will squeeze these guys out in the primaries, and we’ll learn just how well a Trump Republican can do against what I suspect will be a more moderate liberal. Unfortunately, unless Trump’s popularity continues to fall with his base, it’s also going to make it more difficult for Republicans who care only about their prospects in the next election to stand up to Trump. The Trump base only represents 36 percent of the country, but 70 percent of the Republican party.

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— Interestingly, this hasn’t been a huge problem for Susan Collins in Maine, yet. She curries favor with Democrats (many of whom often vote for her), but plays both sides well enough not to alienate most of her Republican voters. She infuriated me by voting for Jeff Sessions and then voting against Betsy DeVos only after voting to allow a vote on DeVos to go to the floor, but given Collins’ work with the LGBTQ community and the fact that she’s the only moderate Republican dead set against Trumpcare (so far), it’s hard to despise her. She’s good at politics and politically speaking, she’s the most powerful politician in Maine (there are rumors, however, that she may quit the Senate and run for Governor next year. I hope she does, because she’s a better alternative than LePage, and it’d open up her seat for a Democrat).

Header image: The New Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, again, because I’m just so goddamn stoked.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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