A new Rasmussen survey shows President Donald Trump enjoys a higher approval rating following his State of the Union address to 49 percent favorable among likely voters.
That rating could bump higher among Trump followers now that the controversial FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) memo detailing alleged FBI and Justice Department surveillance abuses on what appears to have been questionable grounds. Watch for the president’s supporters to declare that Trump is the victim of a smear campaign.
The memo may be read here.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail said the Rasmussen number represented a jump “to a seven-month high” for the president, the highest rating he had achieved since last March 7.
“The latest figures include 35% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 38% who Strongly Disapprove,” Rasmussen reported.
Trump’s popularity right now appears evenly split, with 49 percent disapproving of his performance. What this may represent is how the nation splits down the middle on Trump as chief executive.
But it may also blunt any notion among Democrats that the president lost ground with his speech before Congress earlier in the week. Many pundits believe the Democrats actually hurt themselves with their behavior and facial expressions, by not applauding when he announced the low unemployment rates among blacks and Hispanics and the improving economy. And when many in the chambers began chanting “U.S.A.,” one Democrat actually walked out of the room and it was caught on camera.
While their conduct at the State of the Union address may result in a public relations embarrassment for Democrats, the FISA memo could become a nightmare.
The memo confirms that a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele “on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part” of an application for surveillance of one-time Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.
“Steele,” the memo says, “was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.”
The memo notes that Steele was suspended and later terminated as an FBI source over allegedly unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the federal law enforcement agency. Steele’s apparent bias allegedly became clear in Setember 2016 during a conversation with then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr in which Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” the memo says.
It is the kind of stuff upon which political intrigue is built, and no doubt will be the center of discussion on evening and Sunday morning talk shows.