President Donald Trump's maiden global trip, a five-stop marathon across the Middle East and Europe, has long loomed as a crucial first test overseas for the chaos-courting president.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the visit was aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region to stand in "unity" with Israel and confront Iran.
"It's nearly always true that when a president goes on a big foreign trip, especially one that has some important summits. that that dominates the news and knocks most other stuff out", said Republican strategist Charlie Black.
Friday's report quotes Mr Trump calling ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey "crazy" and "a real nut job".
Separately, the New York Times reported that Trump boasted to Russian officials at a White House meeting last week that firing Comey relieved "great pressure" the president faced from a law-enforcement probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Finally, the president's trip will wrap up in Europe where will meet members of the North Atlantic Alliance in Brussels, before heading on to a G7 summit in Taormina, Italy.
"Whether by accident or design, this will help him in terms of Russian Federation news for a while". It's the first stop of a nine-day, multi-country tour. Ivanka Trump wants to hear about the challenges women in the country face and the progress they have made, the official said.
In Israel, Trump has hopes of reviving the stalled peace process, meeting both his "friend" Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Bethlehem. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump said, according to the Times, which cited a document summarizing the meeting and read to it by an unnamed USA official.
According to Reuters, Trump may offer the Saudis an agreement with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin for a $1 billion THAAD missile system, similar to the one that the USA has already sent to South Korea.
Shortly after taking office, Trump sought to block people from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, but the travel ban has been blocked by federal courts.