As if the news could get any worse for President Donald Trump.
Amid the hubbub of Monday’s three-hit beating from the federal investigation into Russian election meddling, a monied effort to impeach the president surpassed a major milestone.
While petitions alone cannot, of course, begin impeachment proceedings, the popularity of the petition is yet another sign of the president’s contentious stature in American politics.
Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager and philanthropist, is leading the charge to impeach Trump. Earlier this month, he sent a letter to Democratic lawmakers and 2018 congressional candidates demanding they vow to impeach the president if elected in the rapidly approaching midterm elections. He then ran an ad calling for Trump’s impeachment on stations across the United States, including during an episode of Fox & Friends, a Fox News morning show Trump is known to watch. Steyer reportedly spent “well over” $10 million to run the ads, which feature a link to the petition, according to Time.
Steyer donated more than any other American during the 2016 election, giving more than $91 million to Democratic candidates and progressive causes, according to the OpenSecrets database, which is maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The wealthy progressive activist’s campaign hits Trump amid percolating turmoil on multiple fronts.
On Monday, the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to lead the federal probe into Russian election interference, announced charges against three members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Manafort business partner and Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates together face 12 charges, including money laundering and providing false statements. George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his admitted attempts to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 presidential rival, from the Russian government.
Even before charges came down on Trump’s team, the president’s approval rating hovered below 40 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics average. That number does not, however, reflect Americans’ opinions of the president now that the Russia investigation has moved from talk to action.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the combined number of charges faced by Manafort and Gates. Manafort faces nine charges, while Gates faces eight. There are 12 charges in total. We regret the error.