Donald Trump called time on his birthday plans Wednesday evening when he drove to MedStar Washington Hospital Center to visit Congressman Steve Scalise.
The House Majority Whip had been critically injured that morning while playing baseball with his GOP colleagues when a deranged gunman opened fire on the group.
That wasn’t the only disruption to Trump’s 71st birthday celebrations.
Shortly before the visit, it emerged that the Russia probe headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller had now widened to include the president, who is now under investigation for obstruction of Justice.
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Donald Trump’s 71st birthday was scuppered by twin dramas on Wednesday. In the evening he visited a DC hospital where Congressman Steve Scalise was in critical condition after a shooting on a GOP baseball game earlier that day
Earlier in the evening Trump and his kids and grandkids had enjoyed a family gathering. As they celebrated, however, it emerged that Trump was being investigated in the Russia probe
Scalise (seen here after being shot in the hip) will need further surgery and remains in critical condition. It’s not clear whether he was conscious when Trump visited
Trump tweeted upon leaving the hospital that Scalise was ‘in very touch shape – but he is a real fighter’. It was unclear whether Scalise was conscious when Trump visited
Trump had spent the early part of the evening with kids Eric, Donald Jr and Ivanka, as well as their respective spouses and kids.
All had photos of themselves at the White House on Instagram – though without Trump himself present in the images.
But as darkness fell the president and wife Melania got into a motorcade and took off for MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington.
That’s where Scalise had been taken that morning, after being hit in the hip by a rifle round fired by disgruntled Trump-hater James T Hodgkinson.
Hodgkinson, 66, of Illinois, had also managed to injure a Congress staffer and two police officers before being shot dead. All three of the injured parties are expected to make full recoveries.
It’s not known whether Scalise was conscious when the Trumps arrived, but the president spoke with his family in the intensive care unit, suggesting that might not be the case.
Trump sat by Scalise’s bedside during the half-hour visit, which Press Secretary Sean Spicer called ’emotional’.
Scalise is still in critical condition and will need more surgeries, his official Twitter account said.
‘The bullet traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs and causing severe bleeding,’ it said in a statement.
It added: ‘His condition is critical and he will require additional operations.’
While at the hospital, Trump also met with Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, who was shot in the ankle as she defended the GOP representatives and senators during the attack.
And he greeted other Capitol Police cops who had gathered at the hospital, thanking them for their service.
The Trumps was later seen exiting the hospital, guided out by Dr Ira Labin. He shook Labin’s hand before departing.
After leaving, he Tweeted: ‘More Just left hospital. Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape – but he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve!’
Trump was walked from the hospital by Dr Ira Rabin (left). He is being investigated for obstruction of justice by Special Counsel Robert Mueller
James Hodgkinson (left) opened fire on GOP lawmakers Wednesday morning as they prepared for a charity baseball game. Scalise (right) was badly injured; three others had lesser wounds
Scalise will need further operations, his official account said. Hodgkinson was shot by police and died in hospital later. The three other victims are expected to make full recoveries
The horrific shooting wasn’t the only blight on Trump’s big day: It also emerged Wednesday that he had become a subject in the ever-widening Russia probe.
Following the Congressional testimony of ex-FBI director and former probe head James Comey, Trump is now suspected of obstructing the course of justice, the Washington Post reported.
Comey confirmed to Congress claims made in his leaked memo that Trump has told him to squash an investigation into national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Flynn was accused of having improper communications with Russia prior to Trump actually taking up the mantle of president.
The probe – which is investigating claims that Trump’s associates had dealings with Moscow, as well as hacks by Russia during the presidential election – had never before been directed at Trump himself.
But now, sources have told the Post that Special Counsel Robert Mueller – whom Trump hand-picked to lead the investigation after he fired Comey – is looking at the president.
Comey had previously assured Trump that he was not being investigated, but that changed shortly after he was fired, the five sources said.
Mueller’s team is actively pursuing potential witnesses both inside and outside the government, the officials claimed.
Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence; Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency; and Rogers’ recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, have agreed to be interviewed as early as this week, insiders claimed.
Mueller (pictured) was appointed to take over the Russia probe by Trump when James Comey was fired as FBI director. But now he is investigating the president after Comey’s testimony
Comey (pictured) said Trump had told him to squash the probe’s investigation into ex-National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who allegedly had inappropriate meetings with Russians
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump had praised the ‘heroic actions’ of the officers who took down Hodgkinson in a speech.
He said that ‘many lives’ would have been lost if they had not been there. Scalise was in surgery and stable at the time of Trump’s address.
‘Congressman Scalise is a friend and a very good friend. He’s a patriot, and he’s a fighter,’ Trump said.
‘He will recover from this assault, and Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers, not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and, frankly, the entire world.’
Trump called off a trip to the Department of Labor on Wednesday as Washington reeled over the shooting.
The president had planned to sign an executive order at the department and deliver a speech on the White House’s apprenticeship initiative.
President Donald Trump praised a pair of police officers on Wednesday for their ‘heroic actions’ at a Republican baseball practice where ‘many lives’ would have been lost if they had not been there
Also on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed his colleagues in a floor speech in which he called for the representatives to come together across partisan divides.
Pointing to a photo of Democrats praying for the wounded, he said: ‘You know, every day, we come here to test and challenge each other. We feel so deeply about the things we fight for and believe in.
‘At times, our emotions can get the best of us. We are all imperfect. But we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber.’
He concluded by saying ‘These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire,’ and that ‘An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.’
He was followed by minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who noted her shared Italian heritage with Scalise.
She told lawmakers: ‘I pray for all of you, all of you together’ every Sunday – now not just for their well-being, but also for their safety.
House Speaker Paul Ryan earned a standing ovation after delivering a unifying speech following Wednesday’s shooting
THE TRUMP-HATING GUNMAN’S SOCIAL MEDIA RANTS
TRUMP STATEMENT ON SHOOTING
As you all know, shortly after 7:00 a.m. this morning, a gunman opened fire on members of Congress and their staffs as they were practicing for tomorrow’s annual charity baseball game.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the crime, and the assailant has now died from his injuries. The FBI is leading the investigation and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.
Congressman Steve Scalise, a member of House leadership, was shot and badly wounded, and is now in stable condition at the hospital, along with two very courageous Capitol Police officers. At least two others were also wounded.
Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault.
Melania and I are grateful for their heroism and praying for the swift recovery of all victims.
Congressman Scalise is a friend, and a very good friend. He’s a patriot and he’s a fighter. He will recover from this assault.
And, Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and, frankly, the entire world. America is praying for you and America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.
I spoke with Steve’s wife, Jennifer, and I pledged to her our full and absolute support – anything she needs. We are with her and with the entire Scalise family.
I have also spoken with Chief Matthew Verderosa – he’s doing a fantastic job – of the Capitol Police to express our sympathies for his wounded officers and to express my admiration for their courage. Our brave Capitol Police perform a challenging job with incredible skill, and their sacrifice makes democracy possible.
We also commend the brave first responders from Alexandria Police, Fire and Rescue who rushed to the scene.
Everyone on that field is a public servant – our courageous police, our congressional aides who work so tirelessly behind the scenes with enormous devotion, and our dedicated members of Congress who represent our people.
We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country.
We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
Please take a moment today to cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe. God bless them all, God bless you, and God Bless America.