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Trump says he finished the written answers for Mueller investigation

President Trump spoke to reporters as he and the first lady departed for Mar-a-Lago this afternoon, saying that he had finished writing answers to written questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He said that the "written answers to the witch hunt" were completed yesterday and are with his lawyers, and would likely be turned in on Wednesday.

The president also talked about the revelation that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is a top White House adviser, sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal email account last year.

"Ivanka did some emails," he said. "They weren't classified like Hillary Clinton's, they weren't deleted like Hillary Clinton's."  

The president's departure comes shortly after he announced in a statement that there would be no punishment against the Saudis for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The president emphasized that the United States' relationship with the Saudis, both financial and in terms of counteracting Iran, is too valuable to sever. 

"Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" the president said in a statement. "That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Mr. Trump told reporters on the White House lawn that Khashoggi's murder was a "shame," but "it is what it is." "We're not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars," Mr. Trump said, referring to an arms deal with the Saudis. 

He also said, "If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a terrible mistake."

Also on Tuesday, Mr. Trump pardoned the two turkeys "Peas" and "Carrots." The president made some political jokes while publicly pardoning Peas. 

This will be Mr. Trump's first visit to Mar-a-Lago since April, when he hosted Japanese President Shinzo Abe. The president visited the "Winter White House" several times at the beginning of the year, going to Mar-a-Lago eight times between January and April. This will be Mr. Trump's 18th stay at Mar-a-Lago since taking office.

Although this is a relatively quiet week in Washington, as Congress is not in session, the remainder of the year will feature a few political battles. House Democrats will choose their caucus leader, and Mr. Trump has said that he will stump for Rep. Nancy Pelosi to become speaker of the House next term as she faces opposition from some Democrats.

A partial government shutdown is set to occur unless Congress passes and Mr. Trump signs spending bills for the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies by Dec. 7. Mr. Trump said last week that unless Congress provides greater funding for a border wall, that this would be a "very good time to do a shutdown." Increasing funding for a border wall remains a challenge in the lame-duck Congress, especially since Democrats may not be feeling too uncooperative.

Mar-a-Lago, which has an initiation fee of $200,000, often provides members the opportunity to interact with the president in a less restrictive setting. Mr. Trump has also tapped four club members for ambassadorship positions, according to the Palm Beach Post. Most recently, Mr. Trump tapped club member Lana Marks, a couture handbag designer raised in South Africa, for the post of ambassador to South Africa.

Mr. Trump travels to Mississippi Monday to campaign for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith who's in a Senate runoff race next week with Democrat Mike Espy.

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

Grace Segers
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Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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