As a note regarding the fiscal budgets - the President introduces their "budget blueprint" around the start of the year, but they're not enacted (if at all) until 1 October 2018, so it won't affect us much. Also, from what I understand, Congress doesn't usually follow-up on that budget plan, and instead do what they see fit. This is the same for any President; the point is just to show the legislative priorities of the President. Having said that, the cuts that Trump proposed (last year and this year) are especially draconian, so we won't (hopefully) see much alignment between what Trump wants and what Congress passes.
I agree politics influences a lot of things, most notably the massive tax reform law which would have decimated most of the graduate students (domestic and international).
I don't deny that there are many students from China who are looking outwards to other institutions for their graduate programs, but I'm not convinced that a trade war would affect the graduate admissions, directly or indirectly.
Controlled nuclear fusion is definitely a big red flag for the visa officers though - you probably already know this, but I'll just put this here for future readers: https://www.temple.edu/isss/immigration ... -list.html
- being flagged for your program of study being under the Technology Alert List depending on what the consular officer assesses..