Those suspicions were magnified over Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, a decision Trump admits was influenced by Comey's continued Russian probe. The day after Comey's firing, Trump held an oval office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, where he admitted that Comey's departure relieved a great deal of pressure; then he went on to leak information gathered by Israeli intelligence to the Russians at that same meeting, just for good measure.
Last week, we learned from Comey's testimony that he felt pressured into a patronage relationship with Trump, prompting Comey to record his encounters with the president and to subsequently leak those memos in the hopes of forcing the appointment of a special prosecutor. Yesterday, we found out Trump is considering dismissing that same special prosecutor.
Trump's failures extend far beyond the Russia mess. Trump has yet to fill 553 key, Senate-confirmable positions; what's more, he hasn't even put forth a nominee for 89 percent of those openings.
This shortfall in staff might partially explain the hollowness of his economic policy. Writing for the the Atlantic, Derek Thompson summarized Trump's economic policy well: "There is no policy." Virtually everything Trump has done on this front has been all sizzle, no steak. Last week's infrastructure signing ceremony was simply Trump sending a memo to Congress requesting they act. His proposed tax plan is less than a page long and scant on detail. His budget only balances if the GDP growth doubles the forecast -- and if you double-count that growth, as his budget folks did, resulting in a $2 trillion math error.
Additionally, in his brief tenure, Trump has show complete disregard for ethics. Hiring Ivanka Trump and Jared Kusher ignores antinepotism norms, and potentially laws. He's also requested an unprecedented number of ethics waivers allowing former lobbyists to oversee the very industry sectors for which they lobbied (so much for draining the swamp). Recently, Maryland and D.C. have filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging that he has used his position rather egregiously for his own financial gain.
The Republican Congress, which is meant to check the president's power, has tripped over itself in rather pathetic attempts to defend Trump. Speaker Paul Ryan's excuse: "The president's new at this." Really?
Still, Sen. Lindsey Graham's backhand-compliment defense is perhaps the most succinct summation of the Trump White House: "He doesn't believe he did anything wrong with the Russians, and I tend to believe him. He can't collude with his own government. Why do you think he's colluding with the Russians?"
In attempting to stand by Trump, the Republican Party leadership has in actuality undermined him. When Trump's best defense is that he's either to inexperienced or dimwitted to be guilty, it raises the question of whether he's to inexperienced or dimwitted to be president.
But he is president. And he will continue to be. And it's because voters are often stupid and always tribal.
Republican leaders seem to think they will gain a tactical legislative advantage if they can negotiate a deal behind the scenes and then suddenly spring it on the full Senate. Those gains will quickly evaporate when voters learn what they have done.
President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010. Though imperfect, it was a vast improvement over the existing system: more Americans are insured, premiums have stabilized, and job growth hasn't suffered. In part, that may account for steady increases in support for the ACA since it's passage (54 percent of Americans approve of the ACA, while only 32 percent approve of the proposed replacement).