Saturday 24th March, 2018
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What to expect as Trump’s unpredictable first year ends

Sheetal Sukhija - Tuesday 2nd January, 2018

WASHINGTON, U.S. - On Sunday, as U.S. President Donald Trump ended his first year in power, several experts were predicting how different his second year in power would be. 

Trump rang in the new year walking down the red carpet at his Mar-a-Lago club, to begin his New Year’s Eve celebrations on Sunday night.

The President, who has been ringing in the new year at his Mar-a-Lago for more than a decade now, continued with the tradition, and celebrated with a string of guests, who paid hundreds of dollars each to celebrate with the country’s first family. 

Trump even spoke to reporters as he entered the gilded ballroom and said the stock market will continue to rise and that companies are going to continue to come into the U.S. 

Speaking from what has come to be known as the Winter White House, Trump predicted a "fantastic 2018.” 

He said, "We're going to have a great year,” as he was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and son Barron. 

Previously, in his New Year's Eve message, Trump said, “What a year it's been, and we're just getting started. Together, we are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Happy New Year!!" 

He later offered another Twitter message, in which he said, "As our Country rapidly grows stronger and smarter, I want to wish all of my friends, supporters, enemies, haters, and even the very dishonest Fake News Media, a Happy and Healthy New Year. 2018 will be a great year for America!" 

But while celebrations were on in Florida - experts, who has often described Trump’s first year in power as tumultuous and unpredictable, were trying to find out what would be the notable moments to watch out for this year. 

So far, there is no clear evidence that Trump will change his ways anytime soon.

Now, as he begins his second year in office, experts believe that some of the key aspects of his decisions will be watched closely, including whether the President will hit the campaign trail in advance of the midterms.

Trump has, so far, defied every prediction, starting off with winning the presidency at his first attempt. 

However, his attempts to use his appeal to help other candidates in 2017 had mixed results.

This became more evident in Alabama, where he first campaigned for incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R), who went down to defeat in the GOP primary. 

Then, Trump backed Republican nominee Roy Moore — reportedly against the counsel of some of his advisers — only to see Moore lose the general election to Democrat Doug Jones in a state Trump had carried by 28 points in 2016.

While Trump is unpopular with the electorate at large, he remains very popular with Republican voters. 

Many experts that Trump could help drive turnout up among the GOP base, but he could be equally energizing for the opposition.

Meanwhile, another big questions in Trump’s second year is the investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

While the White House has sought to contain the political damage from allegations of collusion with Russia, the president has enlisted a separate, personal legal team to deal with the matter.

In recent months, three lawyers — Ty Cobb, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow — have responded to the investigation and Cobb, in particular, has been vocal.

He has insisted that Mueller’s probe is nearing its end and even suggested at one point that it would all be over by Thanksgiving or, at worst, the end of the year.

However, many legal experts believe otherwise. 

Some even speculated that Cobb’s promises were aimed at keeping the president calm and discouraging him from precipitous action such as attempting to fire Mueller. 

Now, however, despite Trump’s insistence that he would not fire Mueller - many are wondering how long his patience will endure if the probe goes on well into 2018. 

Further, will he keep faith with the current strategy, in which his lawyers promise to cooperate with Mueller while his political allies attack the special counsel?

Last week, Trump surprised some observers when he told The New York Times that he expects Mueller is "going to be fair." 

Another big question is going to be about what will Trump’s foreign policy be from here on. 

So far, Trump’s “America First” version of the foreign policy has delighted his supporters but outraged critics and much of the establishment. 

However, his propensity to use language that is unheard-of from any previous president, for instance, calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “Little Rocket Man,” has startled the international community.  

Yet, Trump’s actions have sometimes been several notches softer than his rhetoric. 

He declined to certify that Iran was in compliance with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. 

He even backtracked on his campaign-trail contention that NATO was “obsolete.” 

Further, his actions on trade — with China and in relation to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — have not been as emphatic as some expected.

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