Trump starts Asia trip setting expectations for Putin meeting

Image: US President Donald J. Trump visits Japan

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump wave to U.S. service members at Yokota Air Base in Fussa, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, Nov. 5, 2017. KIMIMASA MAYAMA / EPA

But the expected meeting with Putin also comes at a time of continued American scrutiny, both of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and investigations into whether there was any collusion with anyone involved in the Trump campaign.

Less than a week before Trump departed on the trip, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates

were indicted by Special Counsel Bob Mueller and it was revealed that former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians.

Related:

Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Pure Trump. And It’s Working For Him.

Upon deplaning in Tokyo, Trump, joined by first lady Melania Trump and seeming to be in good spirits, addressed troops at Yokota Air Base. He signed photos and even dollar bills as he walked in.

“Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States, and today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,” Trump said.

Mixing promises of military might with flourishes of his off-the-cuff stump style, Trump rallied the troops to cheers. He boasted of the “beautiful, brand new equipment” on its way, telling the soldiers to “use it well.”

Praising American service members, Trump told the troops: “We dominate the sky. We dominate the sea. We dominate the land and space.”

And Trump issued a warning to those dictators and regimes that might underestimate American resolve, reminding that for those who have in the past “it was not pleasant for them.”

But the president also showed his softer side.

Image: JAPAN-US-DIPLOMACY

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