Trump Zings NATO, and EU Chief Zings Back

On Nato, President Trump's main objection is that a number of member states have not increased their defence budgets to the target of 2% of economic output.

"I have the United Kingdom, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin", Trump said.

Kommersant's sources in the US government say Washington is ready to incorporate these sentiments into a joint statement at the summit, but the White House wants a declaration (either in a separate document or a verbal statement) that the United States is concerned about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump administration wants a guarantee that Moscow won't meddle again.

Asked if he views Putin as a friend or foe, the president said "I really can't say right now" and instead characterized him as "a competitor". "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", Tusk said.

As NATO said in its June update: "This does not mean that the United States covers 67 per cent of the costs involved in the operational running of NATO as an organisation, including its headquarters in Brussels and its subordinate military commands, but it does mean that there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refuelling; ballistic missile defence; and airborne electronic warfare". "We pay far too much and they pay far too little", he said later on the South Lawn.

All major U.S. intelligence agencies agree that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election with the aim of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton; special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with such efforts. Not fair to the USA taxpayer.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies".

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Mr. Trump voiced concern about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit and London visit, the two other stops on his trip to Europe.

"The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them".

"NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations ..."

Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump said: "Getting ready to leave for Europe".

Speaking about his European trip, Trump said his sitdown with Putin might be "easiest" of all the meetings.

The alliance invoked that concept after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the USA and deploys worldwide forces alongside US troops in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. At the G7 meeting in June, weeks after slapping tariffs on U.S. allies, Trump fiercely criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for suggesting Canada might impose retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. Then, after engaging in a public spat with one of America's closest allies, Trump sat down with Kim and declared that he and the dictator have developed a "special bond".

"Frankly Putin might be easiest of them all. But above all when you meet President Putin in Helsinki", he said.

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