USA ambassador leaves door open to Trump meeting with Johnson

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Tusk's pointed observation, offered as he signed a joint declaration with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, is unlikely to be the only rhetorical salvo fired this week.

"Boris Johnson's a friend of mine".

"Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China, and I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security, which cannot be said with confidence about Russian or Chinese spending".

Even as he declared that the US commitment to the trans-Atlantic alliance "remains very strong" before his summit next week with President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation, he continued to assail close partners and further strain diplomatic relations.

Brussels is the first leg of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meeting next week with Russia's Vladimir Putin. President Trump has at times called the alliance "obsolete.' Our allies are starting to wonder whether they can rely on the United States to come to their defense in a crisis".

And even though Trump downplayed his upcoming meeting, he compared it to his recent meeting with the leader of North Korea: "I think meeting with people is great". Most NATO members are spending less than 2 percent, though more are moving in that direction.

Despite Russia's semi-pariah status among some Americans and US allies, the Kremlin has always been trying to arrange a summit, betting that Putin and Trump will get on well and stop a sharp downwards spiral in bilateral ties. Trump has argued that countries not paying their fair share are freeloading off the USA and has threatened to stop protecting those he feels pay too little.

NATO is keen to damp down trans-Atlantic differences during the two-day summit at its Brussels headquarters, despite divisions among the alliance's 29 members over Trump's policies on trade and his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and an worldwide climate agreement. "Those of the leaders that have negotiated with Putin or have experience with him are going to have a hard sell to make about why our defense spending commitments in Europe are important and why the United States should continue to have troops in Poland on a rotational basis, for example". Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating potential co-ordination between Russian Federation and Trump's Republican presidential campaign. "They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before", Trump said, adding that "now we're very happy".

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Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said in a tweet :"I hope lots of Americans are watching the Strzok hearings". "Mr. The Purple Heart typically is awarded to members of the USA military who are wounded or killed by enemies in war.

Luckily, unlike Donald Trump, Merkel is a strong leader, and she's not going to sit back and take it as Donald Trump makes up lies about her country knowing full well how much influence Russian Federation now has here in the United States because of Donald Trump.

But Trump, after berating alliance countries for not meeting a target that is six years away, then abruptly said Wednesday that they must do so immediately, and that the figure should in fact be 4 percent.

Merkel was not present at Trump's breakfast with Stoltenberg.

Trump's aides seated around the table, including chief of staff John Kelly and the USA ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, looked visibly uncomfortable at points. And with Trump meeting Putin on neutral ground in Helsinki, Finland, for a high stakes meeting on the last day of his four-country trip, experts say allies will likely try to prime Trump for his talks. "And dear Europe, spend more on your defense because everybody expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped". "This is what they want to do and I'm afraid that we're playing into Putin's hands".

Trump has linked defense and trade throughout his presidency, using national security powers to impose tariffs against close allies like Canada and trade deficits as an argument for cutting USA defense aid to Europe.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.

"It's hard not to believe he wasn't performing for Vladimir Putin, given how kind of overt that was", said co-host Mika Brzezinski.

But experts say the United States can not force any allies into spending more, no matter how much the president balks.