>> President Trump arriving in Saudi Arabia, the first of a nine day stint in the Middle East and his first trip abroad since he took office. But as he boarded Air Force One to get here, he left more controversy behind in Washington. US media reporting he told senior Russian officials that former FBI director James Comey was a nut job, whose sacking had relieved great pressure on him.
Reports also saying one of his current senior advisors is a significant person of interest in the ongoing probe over possible collusion with Russia during last year's election campaign. The claims adding to the turmoil engulfing his administration, and sending public approval to its lowest level since his inauguration. The trip's been billed by the White House as a chance to visit places sacred to the world's major religions, and on Sunday, Trump will make a speech aimed at rallying Muslims in the fight against Islamist militants.
It may be a tough audience after Trump's attempt to ban visitors from Muslim majority countries, but he can expect a warmer welcome than the one given to Obama last year. Saudi Arabia viewed him as too close to Iran and will be looking for assurance that Trump's administration will continue its harsher tone.
To mark his first day, US and Saudi Arabian companies signing military deals worth nearly $110 billion. The next leg in Trump's tour will be Israel, then onto Europe for the Brussels NATO summit and the G7 in Sicily. Lingering questions over the Iran nuclear deal, NATO security, and the Paris climate agreement could be cause for tension.
But that may be a welcome opportunity to at least temporarily leave his troubles at home behind him.