Trump leaves on 17-day break at golf course as Russia investigation intensifies

Donald Trump is leaving the White House for a 17 day vacation – a vacation he said he would never take – as a federal Russia investigation is getting closer both to him and his family.

The President is to spend 17 days on a “working holiday” at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, twice as long as Barack Obama spent on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts during his first year in office.

But Mr Trump may well be distracted on the putting greens; this week it was reported that special prosecutor has been working with a federal grand jury as part of his probe into possible collusion bettered the Trump campaign and Moscow. Another report said Mr Mueller was looking at whether Mr Trump had obstructed justice by his May firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the circumstances of a meeting in June 2016 that involved a Kremlin-connected lawyer, Mr Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr, his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

“I think he will be troubled. If not, then I hope some of his staff take the opportunity to bring him up to speed on the gravity of the situation,” Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Fordham University in New York, told The Independent.

“The next two weeks will be fascinating to watch. I think we’ll see his surrogates doing more to try and undermine Mueller and his team. [Mr Trump] is desperate for people not to know about his finances.”

The President has continued to insist there was no collaboration between his campaign and Russia’s alleged effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. He claims he pressed Vladimir Putin on the issue when the two spoke for more than two hours at the G20 in Hamburg in July.

At a rally in Huntington, West Virginia, on Thursday night, Mr Trump stuck with his story. “Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign,” he said, according to Reuters. “We didn’t win because of Russia. We won because of you.”

He added: “The question for Democrats – all Democrats, including those in Congress – is whether they are on the side of the voters or are they on the side of the special interests. The reason why Democrats only talk about the totally made-up Russia story is because they have no message, no agenda and no vision.

“They don’t talk about the all-time high stock market. They don’t talk about reforms to the VA or about manufacturing jobs we are bringing back to America.”

In an early-morning tweet on Friday, Mr Trump appeared to…

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