Trump’s Asia swing amounts to the longest presidential trip to that continent in decades, a fact that has some of his advisers anxious about the results that jet lag and a foreign environment could have on the President’s mindset.
It won’t be the first time Trump has departed overseas just as a swirl of Russia-related scandal mounts back home. A day before he departed for his first presidential foreign trip in May, the Justice Department appointed Mueller as special counsel, ensuring the story would follow Trump on his stops in the Middle East and Europe.
Trump avoided tweeting almost entirely on that first swing, his cantankerous mood tempered by the presence of his wife, Melania, and a rapid-pace schedule that included stops in five countries.
Some of Trump’s advisers have already expressed the hope his trip to Asia proceeds in similar fashion — though they acknowledge that attempts to rein in Trump’s behavior often result in the President entrenching himself in the very actions his advisers recommended against.
Trump, meanwhile, has expressed concern the special counsel’s ongoing investigation could hurt his ability to negotiate with foreign leaders as he prepares to head to Asia.
“He worries about his ability to negotiate with various entities and how much he’s hamstrung by this,” the official said, adding the President feels hobbled by the investigation and he and the White House believe he will be in a stronger position politically and internationally once the investigation concludes.
At the heart of the President’s fury is the very existence of the special counsel, for which he still blames Attorney General Jeff Session and his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
At a previously scheduled lunch on Monday with Sessions in the private dining room just off the Oval Office, an official said the President did not raise the Russia investigation. Rather, a spokesman said, they talked about immigration, the opioid epidemic and upcoming judicial appointments.
And Trump revealed few outward worries when he emerged in public late in the day Monday to greet trick-or-treaters from a spider-webbed White House South Portico. With Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” blaring from the speakers, Trump handed out plastic-wrapped cookies and high-fived costumed kids — including a skeleton in a “Make America Great Again” hat.
But when a reporter shouted a question about the day’s indictments, all Trump did was wave.