Trump lays low as he awaits findings of Mueller report
Zeke Miller, Catherine Lucey, Jonathan Lemire and Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, March 24, 2019 2:22PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 24, 2019 11:46PM EDT
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- President Donald Trump is laying low at his Florida estate as he awaits the findings of the special counsel investigation, heeding the advice of his lawyers, who warned him against tweeting about the probe before details were released.
Trump, who spent the weekend golfing and relaxing with his family, was said to be relieved and happy that Robert Mueller's probe ended without any new indictments , according to people close to the White House. Still, it was unclear whether Mueller's report was critical of Trump's actions, and the president's lawyers told him tweeting about the investigation before that was clear might make his life more difficult.
The president notably did dial back his high-octane Twitter account over the weekend. His only public messages came Sunday morning, when he wrote "Good Morning, Have A Great Day!" and "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" The relative silence stood in contrast with the previous weekend, when Trump unleashed more than 50 tweets, many scathing attacks on the investigations that imperiled his presidency.
Trump aides said Sunday that the White House had not been briefed on Mueller's report, which was turned over to the Justice Department on Friday afternoon. Attorney General William Barr spent the weekend combing through the report and planned to release its findings as early as Sunday.
Trump spent Sunday golfing with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., former Congressman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, according to a White House official, as aides sought to keep the president busy during the tumultuous weekend.
The president has railed against Mueller for months, calling the investigation a politically motivated "witch hunt." The inquiry focused on whether Trump's campaign co-ordinated with Russia during the 2016 campaign, as well as whether the president tried to obstruct the probe.
A larger pack of aides than normal -- including press secretary Sarah Sanders -- travelled with Trump to Mar-a-Lago to manage any fallout. Trump was briefed on what his supporters would say on television throughout the weekend; aides hoped the president might stay quiet if he felt his messages was getting out even if he wasn't delivering them himself.
White House officials were cautious about declaring victory or getting ahead of the details, said a person familiar with White House thinking, who like others, insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Trump allies like Republican Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan handled television interviews over the weekend, while White House officials were expected to speak more during the week.
Trump spent the weekend surrounded by aides, friends and family, including son Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, who are at the Florida estate for spring break with their children. Trump's eldest son was out fishing with his children when the report was delivered.
The president and first lady Melania Trump celebrated their son Barron's 13th birthday with dinner on the patio of Mar-a-Lago on Friday night. Trump also attended a GOP dinner that night and basked in the applause of hundreds of dressed-to-the-nines attendees.
He spent Saturday golfing with singer-songwriter Kid Rock in temperatures that hit the 80s, and headed back to his golf club again on Sunday. Trump also spent time on the phone with trusted confidants.
The president's low-key approach was a marked shift from his posture in recent days. Beginning last weekend, he unleashed a storm of tweets that were unusually harsh and varied, even by Trump's standards.
He levelled fresh recriminations at the late Sen. John McCain. He called adviser Kellyanne Conway's husband a "loser husband from hell," former FBI Director James Comey a "dirty cop" and former Vice-President Joe Biden as a "low I.Q. individual." And Trump tweeted ongoing denouncements about the Mueller probe, saying it is the "biggest scandal in the history of the country."
Aides blamed that Twitter explosion in part due to too much free time. Heading into this high-stakes weekend, Trump advisers made a point of keeping the president busy and focused on positive developments, according to the Republican close to the White House.
While White House aides were pleased that the president kept a low profile through much of the weekend, few thought he would be able to stay out of the conversation for long.
Miller and Lucey reported from Washington. Lemire reported from New York. AP writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.