President Trump left for his third trip abroad on Wednesday amid yet another cloud of controversy at home in what has become a familiar pattern for his foreign travel.
Trump's visit to Paris for Bastille Day — during which France marks a key moment at the outset of the French Revolution with annual celebrations — comes less than a week after he returned from the G-20 summit in Germany and less than two days after his son published documents that suggested high-level campaign officials accepted a meeting with a Russian lawyer peddling "sensitive" information about Hillary Clinton during the presidential race.
Donald Trump Jr.'s admission revived a scandal that had finally begun to fade for the administration, particularly after Trump pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin over election meddling to the surprise of critics who doubted he would raise the issue during their first face-to-face meeting last week.
But the Russia imbroglio returned with renewed intensity on Tuesday when Trump Jr. acknowledged he sought damaging information about Clinton in June 2016 from a Russian lawyer purporting to have connections to the Kremlin.
While White House officials rushed to downplay the significance of the revelation and the extent to which Trump helped his son navigate the disclosure process, Democrats quickly seized on the potential illegality of Trump Jr.'s conduct and its implications for the president.
The president has said little publicly about the meeting beyond a statement shared with reporters at the White House on Tuesday and a tweet the following morning in which he proclaimed his son's innocence.
The White House's refusal to address most questions about the situation has fueled a sense of uncertainty among Trump's allies on Capitol Hill as the president headed to France on Wednesday evening for two days of meetings and cultural events with French President Emmanuel Macron.
It will not be the first time Trump takes off for foreign travel with troubles lingering at home.
Trump departed for his first two trips abroad during similarly turbulent moments for his administration, and both provided opportunities for the president and his team to pivot from his problems back in Washington.
Trump's overseas debut came less than a week after his abrupt removal of former FBI Director James Comey sparked outrage that culminated in the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. His disciplined performance on the trip gave supporters reason to hope that the White House could regain its footing upon his return.
Indeed, the administration sought to impose some structure on what had been an occasionally frenetic approach to governing by creating policy themes for each week and accompanying them with speeches, events, and domestic travel. Beginning shortly after Trump returned from his first foreign trip and ending just before he departed on his second, the White House lurched from "Infrastructure Week" to "Energy Week" and several in between without stopping to nurse fresh wounds inflicted by the Russia controversy and the president's own tweets.
While the White House rolled out its series of issue-specific weeks, Comey delivered sensational testimony before Congress about what he described as Trump's inappropriate attempts to downplay the FBI's Russia investigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified about his meetings with the Russian ambassador and his involvement in an investigation from which he had recused himself, and Trump ratcheted up his attacks on the media.
The president's next journey overseas interrupted a period of outrage over his latest Twitter rants and came shortly after a perceived setback for his agenda on Capitol Hill.
Trump lifted off for his second trip abroad just days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delayed a planned vote on the Obamacare reform bill amid wavering Republican support, a move critics characterized as a blow to its chances of passage.
The second trip, which took Trump to Warsaw, Poland and Hamburg, Germany came three days after Trump tweeted a video clip of himself tackling a man whose face had been replaced with the CNN logo in what critics decried as an incitement of violence against journalists.
And Trump's travel to the G-20 summit earlier this month arrived as the cable news community was recovering from its collective shock over the president's attacks on Mike Brzezinski, the MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host whom he described as "dumb as a rock."
Despite the rocky situations Trump left behind on each foreign trip, both journeys abroad offered the president political victories that helped him clear the air when he returned to the White House.
Trump's disciplined behavior on his first trip, as well as his tough talk on terrorism in Saudi Arabia and Israel, earned applause from even skeptical Republicans and gave his administration space to sell its agenda throughout the month of June.
His sweeping speech in Warsaw last week on his second trip abroad helped refocus attention on his "America First" philosophy, which had been eclipsed in the run-up to the G-20 summit by intrigue over how Trump would approach his first confrontation with Putin since taking office.
Trump's two-day stay in Paris this week could allow the White House to catch its breath after several days of scrambling thanks to the revelations from Donald Trump Jr.
On Thursday, the president will take questions from reporters in France during a joint appearance with Macron, at which point he will almost certainly face inquiries about his handling of the latest development in his administration's Russia saga.