US President Donald Trump has departed for France, as yet another political firestorm swirled in Washington over allegations that Russia helped the Republican ascend to the White House.
Air Force One departed at 7:43 PM (2343 GMT) for the trip to Paris during which Trump, who sported a cerulean blue tie for the trip, is expected to include talks with French president Emmanuel Macron and participate as a guest of honour in the country's national holiday festivities.
The visit comes days after the release of emails that the US president's son jumped at a Russian offer to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton during the campaign -- the latest development in the probe into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election.
"Getting rdy to leave for France @ the invitation of President Macron to celebrate & honor Bastille Day and 100yrs since US entry into WWI," Trump tweeted prior to his flight.
He is set to arrive today in Paris for talks with Macron expected to focus on joint efforts against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, where American and French troops are in action side-by-side.
The two leaders will then dine at the Michelin-starred restaurant embedded in the Eiffel Tower, taking in sweeping views of the French capital with their wives Melania and Brigitte.
The following day they will watch French and American troops march down the Champs-Elysees in Paris during the holiday's traditional military parade.
Trump and Macron, who both entered office this year, appear to have little in common. Last month the mercurial US leader notably withdrew the US from the global Paris climate change agreement to Macron's dismay.
But the French government has emphasised its newly-minted leader will work to reaffirm "historic ties" between the two allies and prevent the US from "being isolated.
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