Donald Trump approval rating at 70 -year low as Russia scandal swirls

Payment to lawyer was made 13 days before first reporting of controversial Trump Tower meeting between chairmen son and Russian lawyer

Donald Trumps approval rating has plunged in a national poll, published under Sunday, that charts Americans perceptions of a stalling domestic policy agenda and declining leadership on the world stage.

The Washington Post/ ABC News poll, which set Trumps six-month approval rating at an historical 70 -year low, went amid mounting controversy over Russian interference in the 2016 election.

It emerged on Saturday that Trumps campaign committee made a payment to the legal firm representing the presidents eldest son almost two weeks before a session between Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer promising compromising information on Hillary Clinton was made publicly available.

Trump now has a 36% acceptance rating, down six points from his first 100 days rating. The poll found that 48% believed Americas leadership in the world is weaker than before the billionaire took office, while is supportive of Republican plans to replace Barack Obamas Affordable Care Act was at simply 24% compared with 50% who support the former chairpeople signature healthcare policy.

Trump, who has spent the weekend at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, attempted to downplayed the polls findings. On Sunday morning he use Twitter to claim, incorrectly, that virtually 40%[ acceptance] is not bad at this time and that the poll in question had been just about the most inaccurate around election time !.

In fact, the Washington Post/ ABC poll came close to predicting the popular vote on election day which Hillary Clinton won by 2.5 m ballots, Trump taking the White House in the electoral college and no chairman has suffered such low ratings at this early stage in their tenure since such polling began in 1945.

The poll also found that 63% of people believed the June 2016 session between senior members of Trumps inner circle, including Donald Trump Jr and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a group of Russians including the lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, was inappropriate.

On Saturday, a campaign finance report filed to the Federal Election Commission revealed that Trumps campaign committee had paid $50,000 to Trump Jrs lawyer Alan Futerfas on 27 June, 13 days before the New York Times revealed the meeting had taken place.

Trump himself told reporters on Wednesday he had only been made aware of the 2016 session, which occurred in Trump Tower, two or three days ago creating the prospect that his campaign committee could have known about the contact before the president did.

On Sunday, Trumps personal attorney Jay Sekulow appeared on all five TV political talk shows to offer a spurious defense of the meeting. Sekulow appeared to blame secret service policemen for letting the Russians into Trump Tower.

I wonder why the secret service if this was nefarious why the secret services allowed these people in? he told ABC News. The president had secret service protection at that point, and that created a question with me.

A spokesman for the secret service afterward confirmed that Trump Jr was not under the agencys protection at the time of the meeting and thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with.

Under pressure from the New York Times, Trump Jr the coming week released damning emails disclosing he eagerly espoused what he was told was a Russian government attempt to damage the Clinton campaign.

The emails show music promoter Rob Goldstone telling the future presidents son that the crown prosecutor of Russia had offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

The New York Times reported that Trump signed off on his sons first statement to the Times about the meeting, which like subsequent statements was soon uncovered not to be a full account of events.

Kushner, Trumps senior adviser, and then campaign manager Paul Manafort also attended the meeting. It was exposed on Friday that Rinat Akhmetshin , a Russian American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer, waspresent as well.

Earlier on Sunday morning, Trump tweeted more outspoken support for his eldest son.

Hillary Clinton can illegally get the questions to the debate& delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media? the president wrote.

Trump has now been described the political blizzard over his sons meeting as the greatest witch-hunt in political history and sad! and said anyone would have taken the session as offered.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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