Donald Trump cancels South America trip

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President Donald Trump will skip a summit in Latin America this week to oversee the us response to a suspected chemical attack in Syria after he threatened military action, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

The decision appeared to have taken even some senior White House officials by surprise. Mr. Trump called the raid a "witch hunt", [VIDEO]a "disgraceful situation", [VIDEO] and an "attack on our country in a true sense".

The wide-ranging Russian investigation being led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has also intensified in recent weeks, as have converging legal battles pertaining to Trump and his associates.

Authors information: Philip Rucker is the White House bureau chief for The Washington Post.

Pence travelled to Latin America in August 2017, visiting Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama.

Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, said in a statement that Pence is "honored" to attend the summit, adding that past year he "traveled to the region to meet with the Presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama to increase the pressure against the Maduro regime and negotiate better trade deals that benefit American workers". Colombia is an important USA ally in the fight against the drug trade. Chinese president Xi Jinping has made economic inroads in South America for years; the US may try to reverse those gains and shore up economic solidarity against China.

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"As you work for change, the United States will stand up alongside you every step of the way". Mr. Trump's America First agenda, however, was expected to be met with less enthusiasm by attendees.

White House officials said the decision to miss the summit was made Monday, adding that the raid of the office of Trump attorney Michael Cohen was not a factor in the decision.

Also, the Syrian government has been accused of being behind the "chemical attack" on the rebel-held town of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta region that was launched last Saturday. While it is not outside the realm of possibility, the use of ground troops is unlikely.

Prior to the start of last night's meeting with the military brass, Trump told reporters the U.S.is "getting some very good clarity" on who carried out the attack, saying the public would know "pretty soon" about the US military retaliation.

Given the complexity of the crisis, only time will tell just how long "long-term" will be.

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