Donald Trump headed back to the White House Sunday after spending Thanksgiving break in Mar-a-Lago with his family – and a 36-hour trip to surprise troops in Afghanistan.
The president waved and gave supporters his signature thumbs up as he made his way back to Washington D.C. with first lady Melania and 13-year-old son Barron.
It was Trump’s first Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Florida after changing his residence from New York. He enjoyed a belated dinner at Mar-a-Lago with his wife and his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, and their partners and children after spending the actual holiday with troops.
Wearing his trademark red MAGA cap, a white sleeve shirt and jacket Trump boarded Air Force One alongside Melania, wearing a cream jacket, on Sunday.
Teenager Baron, wearing a white t-shirt, towered over his 6 feet, 3 inches tall father and made the peace sign to the waiting cameras.
Trump’s route to the airport was lined with a mixture of supporters and critics calling for his resignation. It comes as the impeachment inquiry into the president moves to the House Judiciary Committee.
The president, pictured with teenage son Barron, waves as the first family headed back to Washington D.C. on Sunday
Trump enjoyed a belated dinner at Mar-a-Lago after spending the actual holiday with troops in Afghanistan
Wearing his trademark red MAGA cap, a white sleeve shirt and jacket Trump boarded Air Force One Sunday. He was joined by first lady Melania, wearing a cream jacket, and son Barron, 13, who made the peace sign, left
United States service members deployed to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan pictured after President Donald Trump delivered remarks Thursday during a surprise Thanksgiving visit
The House impeachment inquiry enters a pivotal stage this week, with investigators planning a vote Tuesday to approve their report making the case for Trump’s removal from office as he decides whether to mount a defense before a likely Senate trial.
A draft report will be available for members of the House Intelligence Committee to view in a secure location before their planned vote on Tuesday, which would send their findings to the House Judiciary Committee to consider actual charges.
Majority Democrats say the report will speak for itself in laying out possible charges of bribery or ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ the constitutional standard for impeachment. Republicans want Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, to testify, though they have no power to compel him to do so, as they try to cast the Democratic-led inquiry as skewed against the Republican president.
‘If he chooses not to (testify), then I really question his veracity in what he’s putting in his report,’ said Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
‘It’s easy to hide behind a report,’ Collins added. ‘But it’s going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions.’
Schiff has said ‘there’s nothing for me to testify about,’ that he isn’t a ‘fact’ witness and that Republicans are only trying to ‘mollify the president, and that’s not a good reason to try to call a member of Congress as a witness.’
The House impeachment inquiry enters a pivotal stage this week, with investigators planning a vote Tuesday to approve their report making the case for Trump’s removal from office as he decides whether to mount a defense before a likely Senate trial. Donald is pictured with first lady Melania boarding Air Force One, left, and son Barron, right
Trump and his son Barron board Air Force One en route to Washington after a Thanksgiving vacation in Florida
Trump returned on Friday from his 36-hour whirlwind trip to Afghanistan, where he served U.S. troops a Thanksgiving dinner and met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss reopening talks with the Taliban. He is pictured Sunday with Melania
Donald Trump eats dinner with U.S. troops at a Thanksgiving dinner event during a surprise visit at Bagram Air Base
Coming after two weeks of public testimony, the findings of the House Intelligence Committee report are not yet publicly known. But the report is expected to mostly focus on whether Trump abused his office by withholding military aid approved by Congress as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch investigations into Trump’s political rivals.
Democrats also are expected to include an article on obstruction of Congress that outlines Trump’s instructions to officials in his administration to defy subpoenas for documents or testimony.
Democrats are aiming for a final House vote by Christmas, which would set the stage for a likely Senate trial in January.
The Judiciary Committee’s first hearing is Wednesday. It’s expected to feature four legal experts who will examine questions of constitutional grounds as the committee decides whether to write articles of impeachment against Trump, and if so, what those articles will be.
After weeks of deriding the process as a sham, Trump has yet to say whether he or his attorneys will participate in the Judiciary hearings. He’s previously suggested that he might be willing to offer written testimony under certain conditions.
It’s unlikely that the president himself would attend on Wednesday, as Trump is scheduled to be at a summit with NATO allies outside London. The Judiciary Committee gave the White House until Sunday evening to decide whether Trump or his attorneys would attend.
Trump must then decide by Friday whether he would take advantage of due process protections afforded to him under House rules adopted in October for follow-up hearings, including the right to request witness testimony and to cross-examine the witnesses called by the House.
President Trump gives the thumbs up as he returns to Mar-a-Lago after a day at the golf course on Sunday
Trump is scheduled to be at a summit with NATO allies outside London this coming week
The motorcade carrying President Donald Trump returns to Air Force One in West Palm Beach on Sunday
Trump returned on Friday from his 36-hour whirlwind trip to Afghanistan, where he served U.S. troops a Thanksgiving dinner and met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss reopening talks with the Taliban.
Donald Jr. took to Instagram to share a snap of the festivities which took place on Friday night, just hours after the Commander-in-Chief returned home to Florida following his visit to the Middle East.
‘Squad goals. Fun dinner with @realdonaldtrump and @FLOTUS last night,’ Donald Jr. captioned the image, which showed him standing proudly between his father and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle.
The picture also reveals that Eric’s wife, Lara, was also present at the lavish dinner.
However, the President’s daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared, were absent from the festivities.
One guest at Mar-a-Lago told DailyMail.com that the President appeared in high spirits at the family dinner. ‘It was a full house [at Mar-a-Lago] and everyone was happy to see President Trump after his trip,’ the diner explained.
‘People kept coming up to his table to say hello and wish him and his family a Happy Thanksgiving’, they added.
The guest added that Trump ‘looked great after doing all that travel and Melania, Kimberly and Lara looked stunning.’
‘They all seemed to be in great spirits and enjoying their time together as a family.’
Supporters wait to see the motorcade carrying President Donald Trump return to Mar-a-Largo in West Palm Beach Sunday
A man holds a flag of the U.S. saluting as U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron are on their way to board Air Force One en route to Washington after a Thanksgiving vacation
Trump’s route to the airport was lined with a mixture of supporters, pictured, and critics calling for his resignation. It comes as the impeachment inquiry into the president moves to the House Judiciary Committee
Trump’s route to the airport was lined with a mixture of supporters and critics, pictured, calling for his resignation
People hold signs as U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron make their way to board Air Force One en route to Washington after a Thanksgiving vacation in West Palm Beach in Florida on Sunday
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Trump didn’t allow himself a holiday sleep-in, and was seen departing Mar-a-Largo in the early morning for a round of golf.
In snaps obtained by DailyMail.com, the Commander-in-chief was pictured taking a phone call in the back of his vehicle while en route to the green.
Air Force One landed at the Palm Beach International Airport early Friday morning to return the president to his Thanksgiving holiday.
He looked weary after the 13 hour flight but spent seven hours at his Trump International Golf Course West Palm Beach.
His trip to Afghanistan was clouded in secrecy so it wouldn’t be revealed ahead of time – as was his Christmas 2018 visit to troops in Iraq – and had many moving parts, including a decoy plane and tweets preset to send from the president’s account so there would no suspicion if the twitterer-in-chief went silent.
Reporters traveling with the president were not allowed to reveal his trip and location until shortly before he was preparing to leave.
The president left Florida Wednesday night and flew to Joint Base Andrews and, from there, on to Afghanistan in a trip that was unannounced for security reasons.
He spent just over three and a half hours on the ground in his first visit to Afghanistan.
‘There is nowhere that I’d rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth,’ Trump told the soldiers at Bagram Air Field.
‘We flew 8331 miles to be here tonight for one simple reason, to tell you in person that this Thanksgiving is a special Thanksgiving,’ Trump said in his remarks. ‘We’re doing so well. Our country is the strongest economically it has ever been.’
President Trump enjoyed a belated family Thanksgiving dinner with (from left) Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr., First Lady Melania Trump, and Eric and Lara Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night
Lara Lea Trump takes her son Luke and baby daughter Carolina out for a walk around Mar-A-Lago
Eric’s wife, Lara, was also present at Thanksgiving. One guest at Mar-a-Lago exclusively told DailyMail.com that ‘everyone was happy to see the President’ and that he ‘looked great’ following his trip
Donald Jr. took to Instagram to share a snap of the festivities which took place on Friday night, just hours after the Commander-in-Chief returned home to Florida following his whirlwind visit to the Middle East. He is pictured with girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle and both their children
Trump secretly slipped out of his Mar-a-Lago residence Wednesday evening and departed from an undisclosed airport a little after 7 pm.
The plane he flew to Florida on, with its distinctive blue-and-white coloring and seal of the president, remained parked at the Palm Beach International Airport to maintain the illusion the president was still there.
Cell phones, hotspots and other devices emitting a signal were confiscated from reporters traveling with Trump, who were not told the destination of the trip until Air Force One was in the air and on route.
The White House arranged in advance for the president’s Twitter account to remain active during his travel. A Thanksgiving message was tweeted from it Thursday morning.