Trump Goes on Attack as Russia Revelations Appear to Take Toll – New York Times

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — President Trump unleashed a new fusillade of tweets on Sunday morning, defending his son Donald Trump Jr., slashing the news media and tarring his long-vanquished opponent, Hillary Clinton.

After a leisurely Saturday afternoon spent at a women’s golf tournament at his club here, where he waved to the crowd from a glassed-in viewing stand, Mr. Trump awoke with a familiar list of grievances.

“HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News media?” he tweeted shortly before 7 a.m. Forty minutes later, he posted, “With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country.”

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In between those posts, Mr. Trump thanked people who had turned out to cheer him at the United States Women’s Open, which is being played at Trump National Golf Club despite calls from women’s groups for it to be moved because of his record of degrading behavior toward women.

A small knot of protesters formed Saturday afternoon as well, but the police kept them well away from the club. “Thank you to all of the supporters, who far out-numbered the protesters, yesterday at the Women’s U.S. Open,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Very cool!”

Mr. Trump has gone through one of the rockiest stretches of his presidency since the disclosure of a meeting in June 2016 between his son and a Kremlin-linked lawyer. Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended, as did a Russian-American lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin.

Besieged by the headlines about Russia and Mr. Trump’s eldest son, the White House planned to repackage the president’s economic message with a string of “theme weeks.” The first, this week, will be “Made in America,” focusing attention on American workers and goods they produce.

But on Sunday, the subject largely remained Russia. The top Democrats investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election said that emails that Donald Trump Jr. sent about the meeting appeared to confirm that members of the Trump campaign had intended to cooperate with Russian officials.

“This is about as clear of evidence you could find of intent by the campaign to collude with the Russians, to get useful information from the Russians,” Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he wanted to speak with those who attended the meeting. “You saw not only willingness, but actually glee from the president’s son, as well as involvement of the campaign manager and the president’s son-in-law to say, in effect, yes, bring it on,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

But the president tweeted his thanks to a former campaign adviser, Michael Caputo, “for saying so powerfully that there was no Russian collusion in our winning campaign.”

On Friday, Mr. Caputo testified before a closed session of the House Intelligence Committee. He emerged to say that he had witnessed no collusion between the campaign and Russia.

Jay Sekulow, who is part of Mr. Trump’s outside legal team, appeared on several Sunday morning talk shows to defend the president, saying that he had nothing to do with his son’s meeting.

“The president has said that he was not aware of it, wasn’t involved in it, and there’s been no indication otherwise,” Mr. Sekulow said on CBS.

Still, there is evidence that the drumbeat of Russia revelations is taking a toll on the president. A poll published Sunday showed that Mr. Trump’s approval ratings have eroded further in recent weeks, dropping to a level never before seen for a president during his first six months in office.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll said the president’s overall approval rating was 36 percent, down from 42 percent in April. His disapproval rating rose to 58 percent, and 48 percent of those polled said they “disapprove strongly” of his performance, citing a loss of American leadership abroad and the Republican health care bill, which remains bottled up in the Senate.

The release of the poll brought another broadside from Mr. Trump. “The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!” he tweeted.

Mr. Trump’s appearance at the golf tournament on a soupy summer Saturday stirred excitement but also caused static. At times, according to a pool report, fans and volunteers became angry at the noise being made by people talking and gesticulating toward Mr. Trump, who wore a red baseball cap emblazoned with “Make America Great Again.”

His enclosure overlooked the 15th hole, drawing crowds of onlookers more interested in him than in the golfers. Mr. Trump was joined by his son Eric and Eric’s wife, Lara.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, watched the last round of the Women’s Open from the viewing stands. A handful of protesters showed up but were kept at bay by security.

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