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The 144 million people who like Trump best

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- The fake news media is full of accounts about how President Trump's standing is slipping among his "base" -- his most loyal supporters.

Balderdash.

There is absolutely no reason to think Trump's support has slipped in the slightest among those who like him best: the 144 million men, women and children of the Russian Federation. A poll released by the Pew Research Center end of June found that fully 53 percent of Russians have confidence in Trump, 67 percent there think he's a strong leader and 62 percent find him charismatic and well qualified.

The poll was conducted earlier this year, but there's every reason to think Trump's numbers in Russia have held steady or improved. (Vladimir Putin has had plenty of time to send those who disapprove of Trump to Siberia.) Trump is performing almost 20 points better in Russia than in the United States, which, of course, only proves true the biblical aphorism: A prophet is not without honor except in his own country.

Unfortunately for Trump, most Russian nationals are not (yet) eligible to vote in the United States. But Trump's eastern base nevertheless has ways of boosting his popularity at home, and not only by hacking the Democratic National Committee and doing other things of interest to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

As The Washington Post's Abby Phillip reported, "a virtual army of accounts identified as having ties to a Russia-backed disinformation campaign targeting the U.S. political system zeroed in on efforts among Trump's supporters to attack his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, over the firing of two Trump loyalists."

That'll teach the national security adviser to cross Trump's Kremlin cohort.

Phillip noted that Trump, on his golf vacation, retweeted with thanks a tweet Saturday from the subtle handle @Protrump45, an account that "bears a lot of signs of a Russia-backed disinformation campaign." Though there are conflicting reports about the nature of this account, there are undoubtedly many Russian "bots" that boost Trump's line and blast his critics, often with misspellings and odd grammar.

But while it's generous of Putin to put his bots to work for Trump, this White House is perfectly capable of importing Russian-style propaganda without help from Moscow.

Trump's White House has been churning out so much that it literally overloaded the system. Rapid-response director Andy Hemming had been sending out positive stories about Trump to so many journalists that, Politico reported, "the White House IT system could not handle an email going out to such a big list, and all of his emails were being blocked by a firewall." The glitch was fixed.

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