Russian laywer who met with Trump Jr. offers to testify before Senate

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks to a journalist in Moscow, Russia. President Donald Trump's eldest son changed his account of the meeting he had with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign over the weekend, saying Sunday July 9, 2017, that Natalia Veselnitskaya told him she had information about Clinton. A statement from Donald Trump Jr. one day earlier made no mention of Clinton. (Yury Martyanov /Kommersant Photo via AP) RUSSIA OUT

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has denied having any ties to the Russian government and has said she never possessed any information on Clinton. | Yury Martyanov/Kommersant Photo via AP

The Russian attorney whose meeting last summer with Donald Trump Jr. created a fresh wave of speculation surrounding the possibility of collusion between the Kremlin and the campaign of President Donald Trump has offered to testify before the Senate.

“I’m ready to clarify the situation behind this mass hysteria – but only through lawyers or testifying in the Senate,” Natalia Veselnitskaya told Russian government-owned television network RT, according to a Reuters report published Wednesday.

Story Continued Below

Veselnitskaya met in June 2016, with Trump Jr., in a meeting also attended by the president’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and top adviser Jared Kushner. In setting up the meeting, Trump Jr. was told that Veselnitskaya was in possession of damaging information, sourced from the Russian government, on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Upon hearing what Veselnitskaya could apparently offer, Trump Jr. wrote that “if it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.” The emails between the president’s son and the intermediary setting up the meeting with Veselnitskaya are the strongest evidence yet that at least some within the Trump campaign may have been aware of the Russian government’s efforts to aid their candidate.

Trump Jr., who first denied that the meeting had been advertised with incriminating information about Clinton, later conceded that that was what he had been offered but that Veselnitskaya ultimately had no such information. He has tried to downplay the meeting but has admitted that he “probably would have done things a little differently” given the chance.

Veselnitskaya has denied having any ties to the Russian government and has said she never possessed any information on Clinton.

http://www.politico.com

U.K. to reject EU demand for Brexit bill estimate

François P

Nothing new in this article. Just a rehash of old news, and thus a waste of time for readers.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 3:58 PM CEST

cinceur

@Francois

Wait until we get another article quoting an un-named EU official who says that the EU are determined to show unity, and that there will be no cherry-picking.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 4:10 PM CEST

YellowSubmarine

The EU made a veiled threat yesterday, via leaks, suggesting talks would stop unless UK did what it was told. Today they have to go through with these threats or look like they have come unstuck.

It looks like bullying talks along using managed leaks is not going to work with UK.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 4:15 PM CEST

Bob

The UK side would be making a mistake to go along with the EU side’s approach.

By presenting the so-called ‘Brexit bill’ as a given and insisting on beginning negotiations by walking through the methodology of how to calculate the amount, the EU side is attempting to use sleight-of-hand to divert attention from the real issue, which is that Article 50 does not require any sort of payment to be made by an exiting member. A payment obligation could arise if the exiting member agrees to such a payment in an exit agreement, but neither the payment nor the agreement is required under Article 50.

Payment of some kind of a ‘Brexit bill’ might be something the UK would ultimately agree to as part of an overall package coming out of these negotiations, but it doesn’t make sense, at the threshold of the negotiations, to agree to a payment in the ranges that have been proposed as a sine qua non before trade negotiations can even begin. If that’s how the talks start, how many unreasonable demands will the EU side put forth during the trade negotiation process?

The EU side is now threatening to ‘stall’ the negotiations — presumably indefinitely — until the UK side agrees to the exit payment. This is probably the best possible scenario for Theresa May’s government, because it’s hard to believe the UK electorate will be demanding that the government agree to hand 100 billion euros over the the EU, not when the money could be spent at home.

The EU side is very proud of their experience at negotiating. But experience is not the same thing as skill, and they appear to be overplaying their hand.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 4:47 PM CEST

Tommy

To put a bit more oil on the fire, I hope that the UK realise that they will be paying a share of Michel Barnier’s € 1m salary plus pension that he will be receiving for his “work”, as it is paid for by the EU and Britain is a fully paid up member until they leave………

That should give the anti Europeans a little food for thought n’est ce pas!

Posted on 7/18/17 | 4:48 PM CEST

Dee

I think the EU have made the mistake of believing that the British Government will cave because the Tories lost their majority and can therefore be pushed around. Leaking and p and bully will achieve the exact opposite of what they want, crucially misunderstanding the British people. The more they do this the harder the resolve to walk becomes (its already pretty strong). The noisy retainers are just that noisy and a shrinking minority.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:06 PM CEST

Anthony Chambers

The most important thing is for the UK to confirm that none of these costs other than pre-April 2019 are actually legal liabilities. Then we can proceed on the reality that they are indeed a concession paid by the UK to facilitate a good future relationship. Dane gelt.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:09 PM CEST

YellowSubmarine

@Tommy –

Just as long as we don’t have to pay for all that paper documentation EU are printing off by the ream. We gave Davis a laptop and a nice briefcase instead, its much more energy efficient and cheaper 😉

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:09 PM CEST

marck

sooner or later the UK will pay whatever the EU demands.

all these games the UK is playing are ridiculous and will not change anything

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:27 PM CEST

François P

My bet is that the real talks about the financial settlement will start during the next negotiating round in August. Because that is the time when the highest proportion of UK voters are away on holidays, and paying less attention to the news.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:28 PM CEST

tony

marck

within a two mile radius of Westminster lies probably the greatest concentration of world class legal and financial brains in the world. The UK government would have had the best advice as to what is or isn’t acceptable.

Leaking details saying the other side is being difficult is the oldest trick in the EU negotiating book. I think Bob has analysed the situation accurately in the comment just above yours.

At the present stage of the divorce the EU is in the position of the aggressive husband saying ‘I want everything, including the house the kids and the dog. I want my other half to get nothing.’

All that does is make the EU look bullies and put the British public on the side of the government. It is a very counter productive attitude and smacks of desperation and uncertainty on their part..

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:39 PM CEST

Uk out of eu now

Go whistle uk, just leave!

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:40 PM CEST

bony

If the EU say the UK has is obliged to pay a bill, it is perfectly logical the EU need to evidence the obligation. Similarly, it is perfectly logical for the UK to refuse to pay anything where no legal or moral obligation is proven.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:50 PM CEST

Anthony Chambers

Whatever happened to negotiation? So far so good. EU promised UK citizens freedom to remain in the EU and the UK promises the same for EU citizens. UK promises no hard border with Ireland, Ireland and EU promise no hard border with UK. All good.

Now, that EU budget thing. If there is no deal the UK pays nothing. What is the EU swapping for paying €40bn? Maybe if they are clever in the EU they will use the Ireland pillar to build in something that the UK really wants, i.e. a freedom of services agreement.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:50 PM CEST

wow

‘We have very good divorce lawyers’ But no the EU27 DON’T have any good lawyers at anything.

EU27 have ONE top 100 lawfirm at NUMBER 99!!!! number 99 (in paris) for crying out loud, there are 27 countries vs just the UK on it’s own!!

The UK, on it’s own has 5 top law firms (all in London) in the global top 10 and over thirty in the global top 100.

Google it.

Good luck then.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 5:52 PM CEST

wow

@Anthony to be honest Anthony if they just said ‘look 100bn one off payment and get an FTA quick sharpish instead of the usual 10 years we take to do an FTA’, the UK would be fine with that deal and the honesty with it, and gladly give it them.

The silliness of ‘oohhh we have a bill.. oohhh can’t say how much….. oohh have a guess… oohhh tell us your bill estimate first cheeky…’ What are they bunch of clowns? I wouldn’t be able to stop myself laughing at them if I was in a room with them.

*People don’t admit legal liability for a bill of an indeterminate amount.* Literally nobody would ever do this.

The EU are coming across as laughable pantomine villians. OOOOooohhhh guess who’s behind you?

Posted on 7/18/17 | 6:10 PM CEST

Jodocus5

Summary of the UK negotiation position: ” EU go and do all the work for us because we haven’t got a clue can’t be arsed to go through the paperwork ourselves.”

Fair enough I suppose. The Civil Service doesn’t have either the capacity or the expertise to do this.

So let’s submit a detailed estimate for 100 bln. Euros and enter into a lengthy dispute with the UK over every line. We ought to be able to wrap this up by the end of December if both sides work hard.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 6:40 PM CEST

alan

If I could repeat something I have said elsewhere:-

I tend to start from the position that the EU has a legal personality – conferred in the Lisbon treaty- which is seperate from the nation states who are members.

A sports club or indeed a limited company is a ‘legal personality’

As a member of a club or shareholder in a company I have the right to vote at AGM’s etc. Such AGM’s may well discuss and approve development & expenditure plans running years into the future. I may chose to exercise my right to vote for or against those proposals.

If I am not content with the vote or the direction of travel or indeed for any other reason no longer wish to remain a club member or shareholder
– as a club member I can resign & my only liability is for membership fees for my period of membership regardless of whether or not I voted in favour of future plans
– as a shareholder I can simply sell my shares and again I have no liability in respect of future funding of the business

If I may now add – in either case it is up to the club/company as a legal personality seperate from its members to fund itself by raising money from remaining club members or shareholders or finding new sources or reducing expenditures.

If as some say assets vest in the EU as a legal personality so do liabilities,

Posted on 7/18/17 | 6:45 PM CEST

wow

@Jodocus5 the UK negotiating team is double the size of the EU team. Stop believing propaganda.

The UK sent 98 negotiators to Brussels. EU had only 52.

Google it, get your facts right and stop being silly.

China just said today that Uk will have ‘no problems whatsoever’ getting trade deals when we leave EU and they look forward to their new silk road’s final destination being the UK.

get with the facts.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 6:48 PM CEST

mlb

@wow
you haven´t negotiated any trade deals in 40 years.
Can you please provide Links for the amount of people UK brought to the Talks?
And Yes every country want to Trade. How equal the Trade deal would be is a different talk.
China is going to dictate every aspekt of a trade deal between China and UK + UK have 0 experienced Trade negotiators.
You are a small Market it do not come with The same benefits as if you are bigger.
None in here have any idea what legal basis anything has, A club membership are you really that Simple minded?

Posted on 7/18/17 | 7:31 PM CEST

Vishnou

They still don’t get it, do they? They can’t be picky or reject anything. They have to respect the terms of the treaties they have signed.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 7:37 PM CEST

Tony

MLB

Yes, we are a relatively small market but one that is infinitely simpler to set up a trade deal with than a larger market with 27 countries and a variety of obscure regions all wanting a hand in discussion.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 7:53 PM CEST

alan

@Jodocus5

It is up to the EU to ‘prove’ its claim, that is first to prove the legal basis of its claims and if & only if it can do that to prove the amounts of its claims.

I don’t think it is up to the UK to make any ‘offer’ at this stage

Posted on 7/18/17 | 7:55 PM CEST

Tony

MLB

It must be pointed out that those here mentioning a ‘club membership” are merely reiterating the phrasing used by various people of the EU who in particular have likened it to a golF club membership. That is when they are not talking about a ‘divorce’ of course.

I think divorce is a better description as both parties have obligations to fulfil. Of course with a divorce each party is entitled to a share of the assets built up during the marriage

Posted on 7/18/17 | 7:57 PM CEST

Europeann

This English saga is getting tiresome. The Little Englanders should leave and take their pensioners with them back to the rocky Island. Let the British NHS take care of them for heaven´s sake. They´´ll be much happier in Brighton, if they can afford fish and chips, and catch a cold. Beechams powder will do them good!
What the hell are the English pensioners still awaiting after Brexit? They should decamp the Southern European shores and live ever happy in their loved England.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 9:10 PM CEST

trisul

“The UK sees the round of Brexit talks as an opportunity to challenge the EU’s calculations.”

No, they don’t. They are just not ready to discuss anything. If it were so, they would be challenging the calculations, not sitting at the table without notes.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 9:23 PM CEST

peter

I worked in debt recovery for 15years i never once asked the respondent to say how they would calculate the “debt” its barmy. It just underpins the fact that they know there is no legal basis to their claims and hope to instead extort a signed undertaking in the hopes it will give them some substance to their flacid claim!

Posted on 7/18/17 | 9:29 PM CEST

S. Alexander

I’m just going to drop in on this discussion. Been a bit busy lately.

All this talk is nonsense. There are two ways to go about in an instance as such:
1. Take one side’s bill and question every single line and word
2. Come with your own calculation and bargain

Obviously UK does not want to bargain. That’s fine. For my liking, questioning every line and word is a more fair approach. The problem with it is it takes time. But that should not be an issue since time is plenty. /sarcasm

Anyway, I have been looking at UK’s picture today and it does not look rosy. A government hanging on hair line, more and more voiced to stop the process (even though they well know it can’t be stopped), a non existant opposition – quietly waiting for the others to fall appart and a divided society over an ever increasing number of faultlines.

This can’t be good and I give Davies the benefit of not caring about these negotiations. Who would? It’s an exercise in futility anyway, knowing that maybe even in a couple months time everything will go down sht creek.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 9:53 PM CEST

Anthony Chambers

The EU has a massive problem. They need to find a good excuse to get to round 2 of the negociations without a serious amount of money being committed by the UK. Otherwise they have the real prospect of a disorderly breakup. Given how inflexible they are it is interesting to see what they can come up with.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 10:44 PM CEST

Tony

S Alexander

You really must stop reading the Guardian which has only a faint grip on reality as regards Brexit?

If you read the varoufakis book I recommended you will also know to disregard the propaganda coming from the EU. It is part of their negotiating tactics

Posted on 7/18/17 | 11:10 PM CEST

Tony

Trisul

David Davis has a degree in computer science and the days of taking vast amounts of notes are long gone, except, it seems, with EU negotiators.

If you read the other story you will note there is a UK team going through the demands word by word and line by line.

Do not believe all the EU propaganda you read. It is rather transparent tactics to continually portray the other side as incompetent

Posted on 7/18/17 | 11:20 PM CEST

YellowSubmarine

So end of day two and, unlike yesterday, no leaked threats from Barnier, seems like the UK approach has caused a bit of a news blackout from the Brussels machine.

Brussels now going through reams of paper, they were seen with yesterday, trying to find a section that explains how to make the UK admit there is a bill, when UK won’t put a figure on it.

It could be a long night for the EU team.

Sources close to UK team say British have been seen in PC world buying vouchers for the EU so they can purchase a few laptops instead of them having to print everything out, only to then lose things in filling cabinets.

Posted on 7/18/17 | 11:55 PM CEST

AlteredWalter

Enough with this nonsense. The EU needs to force the UK over the cliff.
The EU should not agree to any UK WTO schedule of tariffs – let them trade as a WTO ‘Observer’.
The EU must notify other WTO members that they cannot sign a trade agreement with the UK if they already have a trade agreement with the EU as that agreement will need to be renegotiated first.
Come on EU – show the UK who has the whip hand ffs!!

Posted on 7/19/17 | 12:04 AM CEST

David Collishaw

article 50 says we can walk away after the two year notice period and pay nothing.

the EU has stolen a good 200bn in overpayments from the UK in 45 years.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 12:05 AM CEST

peter

Hahaha alteredwalter try reading up the subject a little and maybe it could alter your opinion.
It is the Eu that is pushing the WTO schedule issue as it is the EU that will be in a legal battle with other WTO members if they cant come up with a sollution for the surplus goods quota that the UK takes as a member.
And pretty sure A) your suggestion breaches international law and B) assumes the EU has leverage over the WTO

Posted on 7/19/17 | 1:26 AM CEST

Ameria

This is not going to be decided until it goes to the ICJ in the Hague. Then it will tkae 3 or 4 years, and probably cost 1 billion in legal fees.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 2:02 AM CEST

peter

Ameria

Doubt it will get to the ICJ, it has already been leaked that the EU’s own lawyers said they have no case.

And if the EU thought they had a case they would be threatening to take it to court not threatening to stall talks.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 2:32 AM CEST

Elena Adaal

This may only go into the judicial system to hash out the details. Nobody cares much if the final Brexit bill is 55 or 56 billion, so that can be settled by courts. Whether is is 0 or 60 billion Euro is another matter.

Many in the UK still do not see that it is simply not acceptable to go back on your agreements once you made them, Going back on your signature will mean that any future agreement with the UK will let people ask “will they honour it or not”. You cannot make any deals this way.

In that case Brexit will not only be ultra hard, but it will be hostile. The UK will discover that there are many things which may not be “legally enforceable”, and as soon as such an issue arises and the EU and the UK have to sit down to talk, the first order of business is the exit bill.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 6:46 AM CEST

Gabriel

Elena Adaal
You don’t seem to have grasped this do you? The agreement to make future payments by countries of the EU is based on continued membership. You are trapped in an EU media bubble where all you hear is how outrageous it would be for the UK not to pay and anything you hear to contradict that you reject because the decision not to pay would effect you and you don’t like hearing it. Outside of europe the position the UK has taken is viewed as very fair and reasonable. Countries are excited by a free trade deal with a major economic nation without having to wait 10 years to get it and having to pay for it like the current EU situation.

I suspect if it were a smaller poorer nation leaving then this argument wouldn’t exist. Say Latvia left, the EU wouldn’t be persuing it for vast sums of money and they would not be trying to damage their image or punish them.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 7:05 AM CEST

wow

@mlb they don;t allow links here so just google it and it will come up.

Look there are only 4 countries out of 198 countries in the world that are bigger than the UK. We are the fifth largest economy in the world so the ‘you’re too small to do a trade deal is NONSENSE!!!’

All the countries in the world are telling you it is nonsense, even China and the USA. EU just did a trade deal with Canada which issmaller than the UK but yet you seem to think NOBODY would do a trade deal with Canada!! You are talking NONSENSE!!!

Posted on 7/19/17 | 8:35 AM CEST

Elena adaal

@gabriel

The monet actually is no that much on a country scale. The principle is important: you agreed these payments and signed for it. No amount of spin changes that.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 8:40 AM CEST

wow

@peter spot on about admitting liability. Nobody admits liability for a debt for an indeterminate amount. The EU are acting like daft pantomine villians, thinking they are clever.

Also re: WTO absolutely correct again. These people o n here have not figured out that the world’s fifth largest economy is leaving, the EU’s second largest. The EU economy has in one blow shrunk by over a quarter, leaving it three quarters what it used to be in the world. This will definately, as the EU have confirmed, require a full regotiation of every WTO schedule (which UK CAN BLOCK JUST LIKE EU CAN BLOCK THINGS) and very likely, every free trade agreement ever made by the EU outside the WTO as well.

The UK is a founding member of the WTO and the EU is subservient to it, as it is also subservient to International Law and the ICJ, which the UK also help set up back in the day, which can interpret any ‘bill’ in any Internationall Treaty, if needed.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 8:47 AM CEST

wow

@Eleena happy to go to the International Courts of Justice under International Law and have them look at those International Treaties the UK has signed.

It is the EU who does not want to go the ICJ. EU said if we do this, it was ‘threatening’ ie they know they will lose.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 8:53 AM CEST

tony

altered walter

you said

“Come on EU – show the UK who has the whip hand ffs!!”

You are perfectly demonstrating that the EU see this process as a punishment and not a negotiation.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 9:47 AM CEST

Gabriel

Elena adaal
It is not spin, they were signed under the agreement we would be members. If you want to remove the legal aspect of it, which you seem to be trying to do, then it is about what is fair and reasonable. It would not be fair and reasonable to expect a country to continue paying vast sums into a project they left, many years after doing so. I understand your frustration at the idea of the UK leaving without paying anything, I myself think it would be a terrible act that would destroy our future relationship with Europe. But the EU does not seem even the slightest bit concerned about our future relationship and seizes every opportunity it can to lash out at us or damage us in some way. Why would the UK put any effort into that relationship? It shouldn’t.

If the EU said right now, here is a trade deal then we would say here is a generous chunk of money for you. But it won’t happen, because the approach has already been chosen. The strong arm approach which has never worked with Britain.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 9:49 AM CEST

tony

elena

it is not a matter of is it ‘legally enforceable ‘ but is it actually legal in the first place?

Only THEN does the question arise ‘how much?’

Posted on 7/19/17 | 9:51 AM CEST

PB

The UK should do an Arsenal and offer them a quid.

Asking for an estimate is not only a trap, but it’s an attempt to further legitamise any demands the EU hopes to make.

Funny to see how quick the EU folded on not negotiating trade though.

Also how can the Brexit bill even be estimated, unless the future relationship has already been agreed.

It’s a completely nonsensical and illogical position for the EU to take.

The final bill can only be calculated once the future relationship has been decided.

For all the talks of competence, Brussels has painted itself into a corner over the bill.

Posted on 7/19/17 | 10:50 AM CEST

http://www.politico.com

Poll: Trump Jr. meeting was a bad idea

Richard Drew/AP

Donald Trump Jr. is interviewed by Fox News host Sean Hannity, right, in New York on July 11. | Richard Drew/AP

A majority of voters say it was inappropriate for Donald Trump Jr. to accept an offer to meet with an attorney linked to the Russian government, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

More than half, 52 percent, say meeting with a Russian government attorney was inappropriate. Only 23 percent of registered voters say meeting with a Russian government attorney was appropriate. The remaining 25 percent have no opinion.

Story Continued Below

Republicans were less troubled by the meeting: a 44 percent plurality say the meeting was appropriate, while 24 percent say it was inappropriate. But Democrats overwhelmingly pan the meeting — four-in-five say it was inappropriate — and half of independent say it was inappropriate, with just 19 percent saying it was appropriate.

A subsequent question that told respondents that Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting because the attorney was purportedly offering incriminating evidence about Hillary Clinton yielded a higher percentage who thought it was appropriate: 28 percent. But that’s still well short of the 53 percent who say the meeting was inappropriate after being read that information.

The poll shows that voters aren’t yet buying President Donald Trump’s excuse for his eldest son: that meeting with a purported agent of an adversarial foreign government who has promised damaging information about a campaign opponent is just politics as usual.

In the survey — conducted last Thursday through Saturday — a combined 73 percent of registered voters say they have heard “a lot” or “some” about the younger Trump’s June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney. The poll began two days after Trump Jr. disclosed written correspondence setting up the gathering, but before the full roster of attendees was disclosed to the public.

The president has defended his son and two campaign advisers, Jared Kushner, his son in law, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who also attended the meeting — arguing that such meetings are commonplace in the rough-and-tumble of presidential politics.

“I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research, or even research into your opponent,” Trump said last week at a press conference in Paris, adding that it is “very standard in politics. Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard where they have information and you take the information.”

Trump reiterated that argument on Twitter earlier this week, posting: “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!”

But few voters agree, according to the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Only 35 percent say most presidential campaigns would accept a meeting with a Russian government attorney promising damaging information about their opponent, while 41 percent believe most campaigns would decline that meeting. Twenty-four percent of voters don’t know or have no opinion.

The same party split is evident here: A 57-percent majority of Republican voters think most campaigns would take a meeting like that, but 65 percent of Democrats think campaigns would turn it down.

“President Trump and his surrogates have been making the case that Donald Jr.’s meeting was politics as usual, and Republican voters appear to agree,” said Morning Consult Co-founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “Fifty-seven percent of GOP voters say that most campaigns would accept a meeting with a Russian government attorney offering incriminating information about an opponent.”

There are also signs in the poll that the Russia scandal is wearing on Trump, even as his approval ratings — 44 percent approve, 51 percent disapprove in the new survey — remain steady, if underwater.

A majority of voters, 53 percent, think the Trump Jr. meeting should be part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. More voters say the president has been either “not too truthful” or “not truthful at all” (46 percent) than say he has been “very” or “somewhat” truthful (41 percent) when it comes to the Russia investigation.

Still, only 40 percent of voters think Congress should begin impeachment proceedings to remove Trump from office, the poll shows. A 46-percent plurality of voters think Congress shouldn’t move to impeach the president.

Those anti-impeachment voters are unlikely to be moved by more evidence against Trump and his associates. Among those voters who don’t want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, 79 percent say they would feel the same way even if Mueller “concludes that members of the president’s campaign did coordinate with Russian government officials.” Only 12 percent of those who oppose impeachment would then support it if Mueller reached that conclusion.

The poll was also conducted prior to Senate Republicans’ breakdown this week in their efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, but the survey showed slightly more voters disapprove of the effort (43 percent) than support it (41 percent). Over the past week, approval of the bill ticked up a point, but disapproval dropped by a significant, 4-point margin.

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll surveyed 1,994 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.

More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents — Toplines: http://politi.co/2tddlIy | Crosstabs: http://politi.co/2vziXxF

http://www.politico.com

Conservatives target Congress, not Trump, after healthcare collapse

Conservatives are lashing out at the Republican-controlled Congress over the lack of progress on President Trump’s agenda.

One by one, conservative groups lined up to blame Congress — not the president — for the collapse of Senate Republicans’ effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s shocking the amount of pushback he’s getting from his own party,” said Carl Higbie, a former spokesman for the pro-Trump Great America PAC. “It’s time to primary some of these longstanding congressional leaders that can’t get the job done.”

Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt trained his ire on Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerOvernight Healthcare: CBO predicts 22M would lose coverage under Senate ObamaCare replacement 40 million fewer people expected to vote in 2018, study finds The Memo: Trump tries to bend Congress to his will MORE (R-Nev.), arguably the most endangered GOP Senate incumbent in 2018, for opposing the repeal and replace bill. 

Hewitt questioned Heller’s intelligence, saying on his Tuesday show that he’s not the “sharpest knife in the drawer” and accusing him of not grasping the damage he was doing to the Republican Party.

Hewitt even compared the list of Republican defectors from the bill to a fictional list kept by Arya Stark, a character on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” of people who have been marked for revenge after wronging her family.

“We know the list to blame. It’s like #AryaStark list. And it just keeps getting longer,” Hewitt tweeted.

Hewitt said that, along with Heller, Sens. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonGOP frets over stalled agenda Conservatives target Congress, not Trump, after healthcare collapse Healthcare push leaves Republicans in disarray MORE (Wis.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsOPINION | GOP healthcare attack is a vendetta against President Obama Rand Paul opens door to backing healthcare bill on key hurdle The Memo: Trump tries to bend Congress to his will MORE (Maine), Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Healthcare: CBO predicts 22M would lose coverage under Senate ObamaCare replacement Fox News personality: GOP healthcare plan says ‘ideology is less important than victory’ Rand Paul opens door to backing healthcare bill on key hurdle MORE (Ky.) and Mike LeeMike LeeCruz offers bill to weaken labor board’s power Overnight Finance: GOP offers measure to repeal arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for Russian sanctions violations | Senate panel sticks with 2017 funding levels for budget | Trump tax nominee advances | Trump unveils first reg agenda The Memo: Trump tries to bend Congress to his will MORE (Utah) belong on that list for opposing the bill.

Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler fumed, ticking through the names of senators who he said abandoned conservative voters by opposing a subsequent measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act and put off replacement. 

“[Alaska Sen. Lisa] Murkowski, [West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore] Capito and Collins. People are furious. And not one ounce of it is directed at Trump,” Meckler said.

The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), which funded ads in the past against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Healthcare: CBO predicts 22M would lose coverage under Senate ObamaCare replacement OPINION | GOP healthcare attack is a vendetta against President Obama Fox News personality: GOP healthcare plan says ‘ideology is less important than victory’ MORE (R-Ky.) and other Republicans, vowed to back primary challenges against Republicans who did not back the repeal efforts. 

“Republicans have promised to repeal ObamaCare for years, and now with President Trump in the White House there is no excuse for them to break their promise,” said SCF chairman Ken Cuccinelli. 

The outrage illustrated the intraparty divisions that have opened up in the Republican Party over healthcare and could imperil other parts of Trump’s agenda.

The defeat on healthcare marks a significant loss for the White House.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised voters he would secure the repeal of ObamaCare on “day one” of his presidency.  

The House passed legislation to repeal and replace former President Obama’s healthcare law in May, with Trump staging a raucous celebration in the Rose Garden with House Republican lawmakers later that day.

But the effort has ground to a halt in the Senate, where GOP leaders do not even have the votes to bring legislation repealing ObamaCare to the floor.

The healthcare measure ate up precious days on the congressional calendar, while its collapse raises doubts about lawmakers’ ability to tackle tax reform. The prospects for action this year on an infrastructure package appear increasingly dim.

The legislative logjam has left Trump without a signature legislative achievement six months into his first year in office, setting off a circular firing squad on the right over who is to blame. 

But some conservatives say that backing primary challenges to GOP lawmakers is a dangerous game to play.

Great America PAC Chairman Ed Rollins told The Hill he wouldn’t target specific Republicans at this point. 

“It doesn’t work to threaten members of Congress,” Rollins said. “When you threaten vulnerable members, it just causes the troops to rally around them. You don’t line up candidates to run against them either. You reach out and ask how you can work together and what you can do to help them get reelected.” 

The political action committee is seeking to exert more subtle pressure on members of Congress. It sent a mailer out Tuesday demanding Republicans get behind full repeal, and it plans to release digital ads pushing full repeal later this week.

Rollins said the events should be a learning experience for the president. He said the White House shouldn’t spend any more political capital on the issue until House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanKushner speech to congressional interns delayed Overnight Energy: Exxon sues feds over M sanctions fine Overnight Finance: GOP offers measure to repeal arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for Russian sanctions violations | Senate panel sticks with 2017 funding levels for budget | Trump tax nominee advances | Trump unveils first reg agenda MORE (R-Wis.) and McConnell can get their conferences in order and deliver a bill that is sure to pass.

“I wouldn’t get behind anything until they show me they have 218 signatures in the House and 51 in the Senate,” Rollins said.

The Drudge Report placed the blame right on Ryan and McConnell, with the heavily trafficked site’s banner all day Tuesday showing a photo of Ryan and McConnell over the headline “MOST UNPRODUCTIVE CONGRESS IN 164 YEARS.”

The White House sought to deflect blame away from Republican lawmakers. 

Asked during an off-camera briefing who she believes is responsible for the healthcare bill’s collapse, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders blamed Democrats. 

“They’re responsible for passing ObamaCare,” she said. “They’re responsible for creating the mess that we’re in. They’re responsible for being unwilling to work with Republicans in any capacity to help fix a system that they know is completely flawed and have publicly said so.”

Trump said Tuesday that he would have to “get more Republicans elected in ’18″ in order to advance his agenda and that “I’ll be working very hard for that to happen.” 

Sanders, citing a law that bars some federal employees from engaging in political activity, refused to say whether Trump would campaign for Heller and Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeArizona senator: McCain still focused on healthcare legislation Lawmakers send McCain well wishes after cancer diagnosis Why Trump is the Democratic Party’s best friend right now MORE (Ariz.), two Republican senators who opposed the healthcare bill.

Trump couldn’t help but vent some frustration at Congress, telling reporters how he heard Republican lawmakers talk for seven years about the need to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Given the chance to do so, “they don’t take advantage of it,” he said.

“I’m sitting in the Oval Office right next door, pen in hand, waiting to sign something,” Trump said.

Some Republicans believe the president is responsible for the repeal and replace effort’s collapse. They say he failed to learn the details of his biggest legislative initiative, did little to sell it and sent mixed messages about what he wanted. 

For example, Trump on Monday night called on the Senate to first repeal ObamaCare and then pass a replacement later. 

“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” he tweeted.

But on Tuesday morning, he floated a completely different proposal — letting the healthcare law fail on its own.

“As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!” he tweeted.

http://thehill.com