Trump defends Russia and NATO meetings with lies after mass outrage

Here’s President Trump’s defense for his NATO and Russia meetings that resulted in pushback for his demands to European allies as well as concerns over his behavior in a press conference with Putin:

“I had a great meeting with NATO. They have paid $33 Billion more and will pay hundreds of Billions of Dollars more in the future, only because of me. NATO was weak, but now it is strong again (bad for Russia). The media only says I was rude to leaders, never mentions the money! … While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy

— Trump on Twitter

  • Trump’s argument, which he first explained in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity last night, is that making NATO stronger monetarily hurts Russia, which Trump says proves that he’s tough on Putin. Trump also tries to place the blame on the media, accusing the “Fake News” of distorting reality.
  • But despite Trump’s self-defense, this time, his attacks on allies and friendliness toward Russia has sparked outrage from both parties — including Trump’s friends and allies.

[Axios]

Reality

Emmanuel Macron diplomatically called Trump a liar after he made this claim, citing the fact that no NATO member nation changed their defense spending goals, and pointing to a 2014 agreement signed during the Obama administration for the current spending targets.

Trump Blames ‘U.S. Foolishness’ for Poor Relations With Russia

In the lead-up to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday claiming U.S.-Russia relations have “NEVER been worse,” blaming the U.S. for damaging the bilateral relationship.

Amid an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Trump blamed “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity” and what he called a “Rigged Witch Hunt” for worsening ties between the two countries.

Trump is due to meet one-on-one with Putin and interpreters in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, on Monday.

The meeting follows a tense NATO Summit last week, at which Trump antagonized U.S. allies by suggesting that other NATO countries weren’t contributing enough to defense spending.

The Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents Friday for hacking the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and state election systems, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

[TIME]

Theresa May: Trump told me to sue the EU

Donald Trump told Theresa May she should sue the EU rather than negotiate over Brexit, she has told the BBC.

The US president said on Friday at a joint news conference he had given Mrs May a suggestion – but she had found it too “brutal”.

Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr what it was he said, she replied: “He told me I should sue the EU – not go into negotiations.”

It came as another government member resigned over her Brexit plans.

Robert Courts said he quit as a Parliamentary Private Secretary – an unpaid Parliamentary aide – at the foreign office to “express discontent” with Mrs May’s policy before key Brexit votes on Monday.

“I had to think who I wanted to see in the mirror for the rest of my life,” he said in tweet.

He could not tell his constituents he supported Mrs May’s proposals “in their current form,” he added.

Mr Courts replaced David Cameron as the Conservative MP for Witney, Oxfordshire in 2016.

[BBC]

“I think the European Union is a foe,” Trump says ahead of Putin meeting in Helsinki

Coming off a contentious NATO summit and a trip to the U.K. in which he seemed to undercut the government of America’s closest ally, President Trump took aim at another Western institution just days before his high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union — comprising some of America’s oldest allies — when asked to identify his “biggest foe globally right now.”

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive,” Mr. Trump said at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland.

“I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills,” he added.

On Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC that Mr. Trump had encouraged her to “sue the EU” rather than negotiate over the U.K.’s departure from the bloc. May’s conservative government is deeply split over her handling of Brexit, and her hold on power was further weakened by Mr. Trump’s comments to a British tabloid that her approach had likely “killed” any chance of a new trade deal with the U.S. once Brexit is complete. (Mr. Trump tried to walk back his criticism in a joint press conference on Friday.)

At the summit of NATO allies in Brussels last week, Mr. Trump took a hard line toward member nations for failing to meet targeted defense spending goals. He claimed his tough stance had paid off in getting allies to spend more on defense, telling reporters on Thursday that members had “upped their commitments and I am very happy.”

The president kicked off the NATO summit by blasting Germany as “totally controlled” and “captive by Russia” over a natural gas pipeline project, known as the Nord Stream 2. The U.S. fears the deal could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. In Saturday’s interview, the president reiterated the criticisms he made in Brussels.

“Germany made a pipeline deal with Russia. Where they’re going to be paying Russia billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that’s not good, that’s not fair. You’re supposed to be fighting for someone and then that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you’re, you know, guarding against. I think it’s ridiculous, so I let that be known also this time,” Mr. Trump told Glor. “I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars. There’s a lot of anger. I also think it’s a very bad thing for Germany. Because it’s like, what, are they waving a white flag?”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters after the president’s comments in Brussels that she had “experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union” and said her country today made “independent policies” and “independent decisions.

In the CBS News interview, Mr. Trump also continued to criticize the special counsel’s Russia investigation, saying it is having an impact on America’s standing in the world. “I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that’s going on in the United States,” the president said. “I think it hurts our relationship with Russia. I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries. I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on.”

Mr. Trump heads to Helsinki on Sunday ahead of his meeting with Putin on Monday. He told Glor he has “low expectations” for the summit. “Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” he said.

[CBS News]

Trump Declares ‘Much of Our News Media is Indeed the Enemy of the People’

President Donald Trump went after the media again this afternoon and once again used that “enemy of the people” line.

[Mediaite]

Trump on Whether He’ll Ask Putin to Extradite Indicted Russians: ‘I Might, I Hadn’t Thought of That’

President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor and previewed his big summit with Vladimir Putin.

And given the indictments handed down Friday against 12 Russian officers for hacking the Clinton campaign and the DNC, there have been many calls for Trump to call off the summit. Senator John McCain said it shouldn’t happen if Trump’s “not prepared to hold Putin accountable.”

Trump told Glor he believes in meetings, saying having meetings with Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi Jinping are good.

Of the Putin summit in particular, the President said, “Nothing bad’s going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out. But I go in with low expectations, I’m not going in with high expectations. I don’t really––I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can tell you what I’ll be asking for and we’ll see if something comes of it.”

[Mediaite]

Media

President Trump Committed a Royal Faux Pas During His Visit With the Queen

The internet is up in arms over a breach in royal etiquette President Donald Trump committed during his visit with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday.

The internet is up in arms over a breach in royal etiquette President Donald Trump committed during his visit with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday.

The awkward interaction amounted to a minor faux pas on Trump’s part, as it is considered rude to turn your back to the Queen, according to the BBC, or to walk ahead of her. Trump was reportedly also 12 minutes late to their appointment to have tea, although some have contested that assertion.

[TIME]

President Trump Called The Sun “Fake News”. But The Tabloid Quoted Him Accurately.

US president Donald Trump has labelled Murdoch tabloid the Sun “fake news” for its publication of an exclusive interview, despite the newspaper conducting the interview on the record and accurately quoting him.

In a press conference alongside Theresa May at Chequers on Friday, Trump tried to contain the fallout after his comments criticising the prime minister’s proposed Brexit deal, which had run in Friday’s edition of the newspaper.

“I didn’t criticise the prime minister,” Trump said.

“I have a lot of respect for the prime minister and unfortunately there was a story that was done and it was generally fine but it didn’t put in what I said about the prime minister.

“I said tremendous things. Fortunately we tend to record stories now so we have it, so we can have it for your enjoyment if you’d like it.

“We record when we deal with reporters – it’s called ‘fake news’.”

The Sun’s interview was conducted by political editor Tom Newton Dunn in Brussels on Wednesday, with Trump’s praise for the prime minister included both online and on page 2 of the newspaper.

udio of Trump’s comments has also been published online since the interview went live. Later in the press conference, Trump was told the Sun’s political editor was among the journalists gathered and went on to ask him whether he’d praised May during the interview.

“Did I say nice things about Theresa May, please?” Trump said, with the camera panning around to Newton Dunn, who was nodding.

Trump continued: “I didn’t think they put it in. They didn’t put it in the headline. I wish they put it in the headline.”

He said he apologised to the prime minister on Friday morning, claiming May was dismissive of the Sun interview.

“I want to apologise, because I said such nice things,” Trump said. “She said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s only the press.'”

In response, the Sun issued a statement that both said the newspaper stood by the publication of the interview and seemed to defend Trump’s “fake news” outburst from his critics.

“We stand by our reporting and the quotes we used – including those where the President was positive about the Prime Minister, in both the paper and in our audio – and we’re delighted that the President essentially retracted his original charge against the paper later in the press conference,” a Sun spokesperson said.

“To say the President used ‘fake news’ with any serious intent is, well… ‘fake news’.”

The newspaper had led its coverage of the Trump interview with the president’s scathing assessment of May’s Brexit handling and a future possible trade deal, with the front-page headline: “May has wrecked Brexit… US deal is off!”

According to the Sun interview, Trump said he would have taken the “opposite” of May’s approach and suggested the prime minister’s current plan would “kill” off a trade deal between the US and UK.

“I would have done it much differently,” Trump said. “I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”

On Friday afternoon, standing alongside May, Trump walked back his comments.

“Once the Brexit process has concluded and perhaps the UK has left the EU, I don’t know what they’re going to do, but whatever you do is OK with me, that’s your decision,” Trump said.

“Whatever you’re going to do is OK with us. Just make sure we can trade together.”

Attacking the media was a feature of the Friday press conference at Chequers, with Trump’s “fake news” slur of the Sun not the only instance where the president complained about reporters and specific outlets.

Unhappy with a question about his upcoming meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump called an NBC reporter’s question “dishonest” and said her network was “possibly worse than CNN”.

He also snubbed a CNN reporter, yelling “CNN is fake news and I don’t take questions from CNN,” as May grimaced alongside him.

[Buzzfeed]

Media

Here is the audio of Trump’s interview with The Sun.

President Trump attacks U.K. politicians, says ‘baby’ blimp makes him feel unwelcome in London

President Donald Trump came out swinging in a British tabloid interview Thursday, calling the mayor of London “soft on terrorism” and saying he felt unwelcome in the English capital.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Trump injected himself into a British political landscape still feeling the aftershocks of a cabinet shakeup fueled by a growing rift over Brexit. He said Boris Johnson, the former foreign minister who resigned this week in a split with Prime Minister Theresa May, “would make a great prime minister.”

The interview was so explosive in the United Kingdom that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a late-night statement, clarifying that “the president likes and respects Prime Minister May very much” and “is a really terrific person.”

Trump made clear he’s firmly on the side of Johnson and others who want the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. He said he warned British Prime Minister Theresa May not to work toward a so-called “soft Brexit” that would maintain political and economic ties with the continent.

“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” he said.

And he even warned that May’s proposed compromise — in which the U.K. would maintain open borders with Europe while seeking more political autonomy — would kill the possibility of a U.S.-U.K. trade deal.

“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” he said.

More: President Donald Trump arrives to Britain in ‘turmoil’

Trump will meet with May Friday, followed by a joint press conference and tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle before leaving for Scotland.

Trump called the 92-year-old queen — the longest-reigning monarch in British history — “a tremendous woman.”

“My wife is a tremendous fan of hers. She has got a great and beautiful grace about her,” Trump said in the interview, which took place in Brussels Wednesday morning but was published Thursday night.

More: Melania Trump stuns in sweeping Grecian-goddess J. Mendel gown for dinner at Churchill’s palace

Although Trump is staying at the U.S. ambassador’s London mansion during his two-day trip to London, all of his scheduled public events are outside the city.

“I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?” he said  “I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London.”

Trump was referring to the 20-foot “Trump Baby” balloon floating above protests in London.

Trump also lashed out at his longtime nemesis, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim who has criticized Trump’s ban on travel to the United States from several predominately Muslim countries.

“You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job,” Trump said “Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London.”

And Trump suggested that Khan’s criticism of him personally reflected a disrespect for the office he holds.

“He might not like the current president, but I represent the United States,” Trump said.

[USA Today]

Reality

Trump told May he wouldn’t come to England until he had a warm welcome. He didn’t get it.

Trump Tweets Glowing Post-Summit Letter From Kim Jong Un…Which Doesn’t Mention Denuclearization

So Donald Trump had some contentious dealings with allies during the NATO summit this week in Brussels. But as far as his relationship with North Korea is concerned, it looks like the president believes things are going along just peachy.

Trump, on Thursday afternoon, tweeted out a letter he received from Kim Jong Un, along with a translated version. The note appears to have been sent on July 5 — based on a line within which states 24 days have passed since the summit in Singapore. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Kim refers to Trump as “your excellency” five times, praises the “improvement of relations” between the U.S. and North Korea, and expresses hope for a new future. It does not, however, give any mention to the end of North Korea’s nuclear program, nor the end of the country’s regular human rights abuses.

Ever since Trump’s summit with Kim in Singapore, critics have slammed the president for not doing more to challenge Kim, elevating a dictator on the global stage, and touting a pact the two leaders signed which doesn’t provide any solid agreement for a denuclearization plan. Recent evidence actually suggests that the rogue nation continues to build up their nuclear infrastructure.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently travelled to Pyongyang to move things forward, though the North Koreans said the talks were “regrettable” afterwards, and U.S. officials were snubbed today when they were supposed to meet with Kim’s representatives on the DMZ.

Trump Tweets Glowing Post-Summit Letter From Kim Jong Un…Which Doesn’t Mention Denuclearization

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