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Nearly six months into his presidency Donald Trump has been unable to shake accusations of Russian meddling in his 2016 election campaign. As a result, his approval rating has plunged to 70-year lows as more Americans express concerns over stalled domestic policy and waning leadership on the global stage.

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll found that just 36% of Americans approve of Trump’s performance, down six points from the first 100 days in office. That was the lowest six-month approval rating in 70 years. The previous president closest to this level was Gerald Ford, who garnered just 39% back in February 1975.[1]

Donald Trump Jr. Involved in Russian Scandal

Last week, the president’s eldest son admitted to meeting a Russian lawyer promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton just five months before the November election. On 11 July, Donald Trump Jr. released an email chain he had with a British publicist, who helped to arrange a meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.[2]

It emerged over the weekend that Trump’s campaign committee paid the legal firm representing his son almost two weeks before the emails were made public.[3]

Trump Jr. disclosed the emails because he received notification from The New York Times that the chain was about to be publicized.

Healthcare Plans Not Going Well for Trump

The president’s latest attempt to reform healthcare is also running into major hurdles, with up to ten Republicans expressing concerns over the proposed legislation. As it currently reads, the GOP-led healthcare bill is unlikely to pass the Senate.[4] Although many Republicans want to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, lawmakers have failed to agree on a common framework.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that lawmakers will delay voting on the new health bill while Senator John McCain recovery from surgery from a blood clot near his eye.[5]

The Market Under Trump

U.S. stocks rose to new records last week, a sign that investors were shrugging off the latest political tumult. However, more allegations of Russian meddling and a failure to pass healthcare reform could weigh on the markets in the second half of the year.

This week, market participants will turn their attention to corporate earnings, as a slew of Dow Jones industrials are scheduled to report. Investors can expect another quarter of solid year-over-year growth, as Wall Street recovers from the so-called earnings recession.

 

[1] Gary Langer (July 16, 2017). “6 months in, a record low for Trump, with troubles from Russia to health care (POLL).” ABC News.

[2] Sam Bourgi (11 July 2017). “S&P 500 Futures Pare Losses After Early Tumult After Trump Jr. Emails.” Economic Calendar.

[3] Oliver Laughland and Pardraig Collins (16 July 2017).

[4] Lucia Mutikani (16 July 2017). “Eight to 10 Republicans have concerns on healthcare bill: Collins.” Reuters.

[5] Phil Mattingly, Manu Raju and Steve Almasy (16 July 2017). “McConnell delays health care vote while McCain recovers from surgery.” CNN Politics.

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