‘He’s furious’: Trump’s mood darkens
Donald Trump's mood has rapidly deteriorated this week as the full meaning of his defeat in the midterm elections sinks in.
The Los Angeles Times, citing sources inside the administration, reports Mr Trump has "retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment".
"He's furious," one official told the newspaper. "Most staffers are trying to avoid him."
The insider accounts only confirm what has been obvious from Mr Trump's public behaviour - or lack thereof.
The President has retreated from view, cancelling travel plans and shunning events he would normally be expected to attend.
At 10.03am on Monday, the White House press corps was informed Mr Trump would have no more scheduled activities for the rest of the day.
It was Veteran's Day, when the American president normally leaves a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, a short 3km trip from the White House. Mr Trump did not go.
On Tuesday, he chose not to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who was greeted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo instead.
On Wednesday, Mr Trump's Defence Secretary Jim Mattis visited soldiers the President had ordered to the Mexican border. The LA Times said Mr Trump decided not to make the trip himself.
He sent Vice President Mike Pence to the ASEAN Summit, which would normally be attended by the president.
You get the picture. Mr Trump has largely been holed up inside the White House, with few events on his schedule. His only public statements of note have been conveyed through angry tweets attacking the Mueller investigation and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
....care how many lives the ruin. These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
Universities will someday study what highly conflicted (and NOT Senate approved) Bob Mueller and his gang of Democrat thugs have done to destroy people. Why is he protecting Crooked Hillary, Comey, McCabe, Lisa Page & her lover, Peter S, and all of his friends on the other side?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
Why so cranky? Well, a few things have gone wrong for Mr Trump in the last 10 days.
First, his party was thumped in the midterms, ceding control of the House to the Democrats.
When the new House sits in January, the President's political opponents will have the power to investigate him, and could even gain access to the mysterious tax returns he has stubbornly kept hidden from the public.
On top of that, Mr Trump's trip to France last weekend was a bit of a fiasco. He got into a spat with Mr Macron, with whom he has actually got on rather well in the past, and displayed notably cold body language during their meeting.
Then he cancelled a trip to the Aisne-Marne cemetery east of Paris, where he was supposed to honour fallen American soldiers, because of rain.
Other world leaders went ahead with their own events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One while Mr Trump stayed inside. The backlash was inevitable.
"They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic, inadequate Donald Trump couldn't even defy the weather to pay his respects to the fallen," Winston Churchill's grandson, Nicholas Soames, said.
"He seemed physically and emotionally apart," former US ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns said.
"It's such a striking difference to between the enthusiasm he showed during the campaign and then going to Paris and sulking in his hotel room."
Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!........— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
By the way, when the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility, I suggested driving. Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown. Speech next day at American Cemetery in pouring rain! Little reported-Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
Then Mr Trump returned home to reports that new indictments in the Mueller investigation were imminent.
Making matters worse, Democrats pushed for Mr Trump's new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation due to bias, given Mr Whitaker had repeatedly and publicly criticised Mr Mueller's approach before taking the job.
The President was famously bitter with the previous attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from anything involving the Russia probe, seeing it as a personal betrayal. He finally forced Mr Sessions to resign the day after the midterms.
On Twitter this morning, Mr Trump claimed Mr Mueller's team had "gone absolutely nuts" and was "screaming at" and "horribly threatening" people.
He said Mr Mueller was "highly conflicted" because he had worked for Mr Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, for eight years.
In fact, Mr Mueller served 12 years as FBI director, eight of which were under Republican president George W. Bush. His tenure was extended by two years in the middle of Mr Obama's presidency by a unanimous 100-0 vote in the Senate.
Mr Trump also called the Mueller investigation a "total witch hunt" run by a "gang of Democrat thugs".
Mr Mueller is a registered Republican. So is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who commissioned the investigation and oversaw it until Mr Whitaker took over.
The so-called "witch hunt" has already led to dozens of indictments.
Mr Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, deputy chairman Rick Gates, personal lawyer Michael Cohen, national security adviser Michael Flynn and foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have all been caught in its net.
Mr Mueller was strikingly quiet in the lead-up to the midterms. Politico reports the White House is worried he is "about to pounce".
"You can see it in Trump's body language all week long. There's something troubling him. It's not just a couple of staff screw-ups with Melania," a senior Republican official said, referring to the First Lady's unusual attempt to get a White House staffer sacked.
"It led me to believe the walls are closing in and they've been notified by counsel of some actions about to happen. Folks are preparing for the worst."
The President's son, Donald Trump Jr, has reportedly told friends he believes he could be indicted by the investigation. His lawyers deny that rumour.
Mr Trump seemingly doesn't want to talk about it - at least, not outside the comfort of his Twitter account.
Last week, when CNN reporter Abby Phillip asked him whether he wanted Mr Whitaker to curtail the investigation, he snapped.
"What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question," Mr Trump said.
"I watch you a lot; you ask a lot of stupid questions."
If the reports are true, and more indictments are coming, Mr Trump's dark mood is unlikely to improve anytime soon.