Saturday 18 November 2017

Trump heads for Saudi Arabia on first presidential foreign trip

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for his first international trip as president, including stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for his first international trip as president, including stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

President Donald Trump has departed for his first overseas trip as president amid the controversy surrounding investigations into whether his campaign associates collaborated with Russia to sway the election.

Air Force One departed from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, outside Washington, with the president, first lady Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as a group of senior advisers and journalists covering the trip.

The president's first stop is Saudi Arabia where he will address a summit of Arab and Muslim leaders. He also plans to travel to Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily.

Mr Trump has tried to put investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office behind him.

Amid claims about his campaign's relations with Russia and whether he tried to stop an FBI probe into the issue, Mr Trump has claimed to be the most hounded president in history.

Mr Trump said he was about to name a replacement for former FBI boss James Comey, another effort to settle the waters with former senator Joe Lieberman seen as the front-runner.

Mr Trump clearly knew what he wanted to say as he took a few questions at a news briefing with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Asked if he urged Mr Comey at a February meeting to drop his probe of the Russia connections of Mr Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, the president said: "No. No. Next question."

Did he collude with Russia in his campaign to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton?

"Everybody, even my enemies, have said there is no collusion," he replied.

He added: "The entire thing has been a witch hunt.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

Press Association

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