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The latest: Trump questions the value of NATO, criticizes Germany



BRUSSELS – The latest in President Donald Trump's trip to Europe (all locations):

2:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump shook the NATO summit in Brussels by focusing on Germany's ties with Russia and openly questioning the value of the military alliance that has defined US foreign policy for decades.

Trump stated that a joint venture of natural gas with Moscow has left the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel "fully controlled" and "Russian captive".

Trump tweeted after a day of controversial meetings: "What good is NATO if Germany pays Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?"

Merkel responded immediately, not only denying Trump's assertion, but suggesting that her comfortable education in the United States did not give her a chance to launch on the world stage over Germany.

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10:10 pm

Polish President Andrzej Duda and President Donald Trump spoke at a NATO summit in Brussels on strengthening military cooperation.

Wednesday's conversation comes as Poland lobbies to have thousands of US troops permanently stationed in Poland as a deterrent against a resurgent Russia. According to news reports in Poland, the Warsaw government has offered up to $ 2 billion to help build the infrastructure for permanent deployment.

The head of Duda's office, Krzysztof Szczerski (KSHISH-tof SHARE-ski), told the Polish state news agency PAP that the leaders spoke "mainly about military cooperation, including strengthening cooperation Polish-American military in the field of equipment and cooperation of military units ".

The meeting marks a significant improvement in relations between the two countries Recently, Poland softened a controversial Holocaust expression law that the United States strongly opposed. Poland eliminated the threat of prison sentences for claiming that Poland is co-responsible for the Holocaust, but civil penalties can still be applied.

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7:45 pm

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend a Dinner for NATO leaders in Brussels.

The meeting comes minutes after Trump tweeted "what's the use of NATO?" in a day of complaints about the alliance decades ago.

The Trumps came to the Cinquantenaire Museum of Art and History and first mingled with other leaders at a cocktail reception.

Neither Trump took a drink while chatting with other heads of state. The president does not drink alcohol.

The Trumps were seen mingling with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hours after the president criticized Germany for making a gas pipeline deal with Russia. They also spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH & # 39; -jehp TY & # 39; -ihp UR & # 39; -doh-wahn) from Turkey.

The leaders posed for several group photos and did an acrobatic performance before entering the dinner.

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7:30 pm

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, evades questions about whether President Donald Trump has asked his allies to double their ambitions for defense spending.

At a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday, Trump suggested that US allies should commit to spending 4 percent of their GDP on defense, against the current goal of moving toward 2 percent by 2024.

When asked about Trump's suggestion, Stoltenberg said he will focus on what was agreed. Says Stoltenberg: "We have agreed that we are committed to the promise of increasing defense spending to 2 percent, so let's start with that."

About eight members of the military alliance of 29 countries are expected to reach the 2 percent target this year.

The main objective of Trump, Germany, predicts that it will spend 1.5 percent of GDP on its military budget by 2024.

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7:25 pm

President Donald Trump is intensifying his criticism of NATO while in Brussels for a summit with alliance leaders.

On a Wednesday tweet after a day of meetings, in which he attacked the allies for insufficient defense spending, Trump calls on member nations to immediately increase spending.

Trump Tweets: "Why are only 5 out of 29 countries that have fulfilled their commitment? The United States is paying for the protection of Europe and then lose billions in Commerce. of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not before 2025. "

Contrary to Trump's assertion, the NATO nations committed in 2014 to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense, but only by 2024.

Trump also tweets: "What good is NATO if Germany pays Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?" Trump said earlier that Germany was "totally controlled" and "captive of Russia" by a gas pipeline

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7:20 pm

The second most powerful Republican in the US Senate UU He says he sympathizes with President Donald Trump's claim that Germany is "Russia's captive" because of its dependence on Russian natural gas and other sources of energy.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn says he also wants Germany to "assume its responsibilities under NATO." Cornyn says it's pretty clear that Germany has decided that their relationship with Russia is important to them because Russia is their source of energy.

Cornyn said that Trump wa has the right to ask if Germany is "carving its blows" with respect to its support for NATO because of its dependence on Russia.

Cornyn says he understood what Trump meant by his use of the word "captive," but not having used that specific word for himself.

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7:15 pm

US House Speaker Paul Ryan defends NATO as "indispensable" after President Trump shook a meeting of the alliance by drastically criticizing Germany.

The Wisconsin Republican says Trump is right to press NATO members to fulfill their defense obligations. But Ryan adds that the military alliance is "as important today as it always has been."

Trump lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a summit in Brussels. He stated that Germany is "totally controlled" and "captivates Russia" by an oil and gas pipeline.

When asked if he agreed with Trump, Ryan said he had mentioned "those same concerns" to European leaders about the pipeline, which brings Russian natural gas to Europe.

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7 pm

The Republican senator from the USA. UU Thom Tillis heads to Brussels on Wednesday as part of the recently relaunched NATO Observer Group. The group was re-established earlier this year with Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire in a show of bipartisan support for the alliance.

Tillis says "we have to let you know that Congress supports NATO". [19659051] The North Carolina legislator adds that he supports President Donald Trump's goal of trying to raise investment levels, but says that the "broader relationship" could benefit from a new examination. He says he sees where Trump is trying to go, but suggests that he might use "different tactics."

And in Trump's comments on Germany, Tillis says he "would not have said that."

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President Donald Trump suggested that NATO allies commit to spending 4 percent of their GDP on defense, compared to the current target of 2 percent by 2024. [19659054] White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders came up with a closed-door meeting with other NATO leaders on Wednesday in Brussels.

It is not clear on what date you would like to see the increase.

Trump has been pushing member countries to spend more on defense, accusing them of NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will reach the benchmark in 2024 based on current trends.

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5:10 pm

The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, defends NATO as "indispensable" after President Donald Trump roi led a meeting of the alliance criticizing Germany drastically.

The Wisconsin Republican says Trump is right to press NATO members to fulfill their obligations. But he adds that the military alliance is "as important today as it always has been."

Trump attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a summit in Brussels. He claims that Germany is "totally controlled" and "captive of Russia" by an oil and gas pipeline.

Ryan was asked if he agreed with Trump about it, and said he believes lawmakers should not criticize the president when he is a foreigner.

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5 pm

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch says he disagrees with President Donald Trump's claim that Germany is "fully controlled" and "Russia's captive."

The most veteran Republican The US senator says: "I do not agree with that, the Germans would not agree with that, they are very strong people."

Hatch met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel when he traveled to Berlin last week. In Washington on Wednesday, she says: "I have the highest opinion of her, I think she is one of the great leaders of this world."

Trump openly criticized Germany when a NATO summit was opened in Brussels, objecting to an oil pipeline that would bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany and asking the NATO ally to increase its defense spending.

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4:45 pm

French President Emmanuel Macron says he does not agree with President Donald Trump's assessment that Germany is "totally controlled" by Russia because of an oil pipeline.

Macron was consulted about Trump's assertion on Wednesday as the leaders sat down to talk while both attended a NATO summit in Brussels.

Trump has been pressuring France and other European countries on their defense spending, as well as on trade agreements that he says unfair to the United States

But Trump told reporters in the room during part of the meeting that he and Macron have a "tremendous relationship" and that it was an "honor to be with a friend of mine". "

Macron also recalled Trump's trip to Paris last year for a Bastille Day celebration and said they will continue to work together.

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4 pm

President Donald Trump and the Chancellor German Angela Merkel have met after the US leader publicly attacked the ally for his expenses in national defense and a Russian pipeline.

Sitting in Brussels, where both attend a NATO summit, Trump described it as a "Great meeting."

He says they analyzed investment and defense trade, adding: "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany."

Merkel said she raised migration and economic development issues with Trump.

Trump said earlier Wednesday that Germany is "fully controlled" and "captive of Russia" due to a pipeline project, Trump told reporters that the couple discussed the pipeline during his re union He did not elaborate.

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3:20 p.m.

U.S. First Lady Melania Trump visits a music academy near the Belgian capital while her wife and other world leaders attend a NATO summit.

Trump, who accompanies President Donald Trump on a week-long trip to Europe, stopped Wednesday at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo, near Brussels.

Trump, 48, was wearing a calf-length Calvin Klein navy blue dress with white and green details on the lapel and white Louboutin heels with their characteristic red soles.

The spouses were received at the music center by Amelie Derbaudrenghien, a partner of the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, and Ingrid Schulerud, wife of NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. They toured the center and attended a piano and violin concert.

Other first participating ladies include Brigitte Macron from France and Emine Erdogan from Turkey.

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3 pm

President Donald Trump says he is thinking of American farmers, even when he meets with NATO allies in Brussels.

Trump says in a tweet in two parts that he is "in Brussels, but always thinking of our farmers".

Critics have warned that Trump's antagonistic trade movements will hurt American farmers who grow crops like soybeans.

But Trump says "Farmers have done it wrong for 15 years" and blames "Other countries" for trade barriers and tariffs "for" destroying their businesses. "He pledges to open" things, better "than ever before "But he says" he can not go too fast ".

Trump says "I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and I will win!"

The tweet came when Trump attended a closed-air event ting the North Atlantic Council. Employees often send tweets to the president.

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2:10 pm

President Donald Trump participates in a welcome ceremony with other NATO leaders in what is expected to be a hectic meeting of the military alliance. [19659104] Trump was seen chatting with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH & # 39; -jehp TY & # 39; -ihp UR & -doh-wahn) during the public parts of the opening .

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed to remain on the sidelines hours after claiming that her country was controlled by Russia. He also left the leaders of the United Kingdom and Canada behind during a walking visit to NATO headquarters.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL & -tehn-burg) emphasizes the need for allies to stay united, saying: "We owe our success to our unity."

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12 pm

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, hours after he publicly stated that the old ally of the United States is "totally controlled." "By and" captivates Russia. "

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump will reiterate her public criticism of Merkel during her withdrawal on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels.

Trump meeting with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, that a Russian natural gas project in Germany is "very inappropriate", as he criticized the contributions of European countries to the mutual defense alliance.

Sanders says that Trump wil I also meet on Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron.

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11:20 am

Buckingham Palace says that Queen Elizabeth II will receive President Donald Trump and his wife Melania in the castle from Windsor, where they will see a military march before drinking tea on Friday.

The palace said on Wednesday that the president will be greeted by an honor guard made up of the Coldstream Guard and receive a royal greeting before the hi mno national of the United States.

Trump and the queen will check the honor guard before seeing a military parade. Trump and his wife will have tea with the queen inside the castle.

The palace did not specify whether the queen's husband, Prince Philip, would attend. Philip, 97, retired from public office but sometimes appears in public with the queen.

The visit is part of Trump's first trip to Britain since he became president.

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9:45 a.m. 19659122] President Donald Trump claims that Germany is "totally controlled" and "Russian captive" by a pipeline project during a surly breakfast with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL & # 39; -tehn-burg) .

Trump disagrees with the United States protecting Germany when the European nation is making energy agreements with Russia.

The president seemed to refer to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would double the amount of gas that Russia can send directly to Germany, bordering countries like Ukraine. The United States and some other EU members oppose the project.

Trump says of Germany: "We are supposed to protect it against Russia" and yet you make this deal with Russia.

Stoltenberg rejected it, emphasizing that NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences.

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9:15 am

President Donald Trump is pressuring NATO allies to strengthen their defense spending while opening talks with leaders of the military alliance. Trump says the disproportionate defense spends an "unfair burden for the United States."

Trump says at the beginning of his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that "because of me" NATO has raised more than $ 40 billion in defense spending.

Trump says: "So I think the secretary general likes Trump, he may be the only one, but it's fine with me."

The president of the United States has asked the NATO allies to fulfill their commitments to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.

Stoltenberg says: "a strong NATO is good for Europe."

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8:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL & -tehn-burg) at the start of a summit of the military alliance. [19659137] Trump is expected to continue to interrogate NATO's cautious allies about his military spending during the talks in Brussels.

He tweeted en route from Washington that the European counties "want us to defend them cheerfully through NATO, and pay for it." It just does not work! "

Trump's day will include a welcome ceremony, a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and a working dinner with some of the same leaders who chided him about trade during his last summit of world leaders in Canada last month.

Brussels is the first stop on a one-week European tour that will include stops in the UK and a meeting in Helsinki with Russian Vladimir Putin.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press All rights reserved. can be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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