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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 1st July 2016 > THE TRUMP WHISPERER


Jeff Sessions, the first senator to endorse the Donald, may be the only pol he listens to


JUNE MARKS THE beginning of summer, but it hasn’t been a vacation for Donald Trump. The presumptive Republican nominee has seen his negative poll numbers rise higher than one of his skyscrapers: Seventy percent of Americans have a dismal view of the mogul, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll that appeared in mid-June. Trump needs to be generating enthusiasm among Republicans, especially the elected officials he’ll have to lean on as surrogates and allies come autumn.

He’s trying to right the ship. On June 20, the mogul parted ways with his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. The little-known New Hampshire operative, notorious internally for his temper and running afoul of other Trump officials, was probably most recognizable to the public for his altercation with a young reporter that led to battery charges that were later dropped. After Lewandowski’s departure was announced coldly—he was said to be “no longer working” for the campaign—a Trump adviser tweeted, “Ding dong the witch is dead.” It’s unlikely that Lewandowski’s departure will end Trump’s standoff with GOP leaders. After the Orlando, Florida, massacre, an exasperated Trump told Republican leaders to “be quiet” and that he could win “alone.”

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PUTIN'S SECRET WEAPON Every day, the red line ticks up and down. Some weeks it trends higher, others lower. It measures the most important vital sign of Russia’s body politic: the popularity of Vladimir Putin. In the Kremlin they call it the reiting, the Russian pronunciation of rating and the reiting rules supreme over all the nation’s political and economic decisions. When it stands as it did in late May at a comfortable eighty two percent, Russia’s elite breathes easy. When it dips as low at sixty two percent, as it did in 2011 when Putin announced his return for a third presidential term every resource is scrambled to reverse the trend at any cost. In recent times, that has meant anything from staging a lavish Olympic Games to taking the country to war in Ukraine and Syria.