USA ambassador tries to lower expectation for Trump-Putin meeting

Trump has frequently called the Justice Department's investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation in the 2016 elections a "witch hunt", and he repeated Putin's denial that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election last week in a tweet.

Christian Lindner, head of the pro-business Free Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk in an interview that he did not trust Trump, and his actions on trade and in the security arena were not in the United States' long term interest.

Regional experts have questioned the success of the Trump-Kim meeting, in which the president agreed to suspend USA military exercises with South Korea but appeared to get little in return.

Last month, a G-7 meeting in Canada turned sour when Trump disparaged allies and refused to sign a joint statement. "You know, President Putin is KGB, ' and this and that", Trump told a rally in Great Falls, Montana.

It comes as nations, especially in Eastern Europe, are lobbying the United States to increase the number of troops on the continent as they worry about combating an increasingly aggressive Russian Federation.

Mr. Trump's political opponents in the USA will be looking for any sign that the president goes easy on Mr. Putin, which they would say bolster allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Moscow to hack the 2016 presidential election.

Separately, U.S. Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters Thursday that the alliance is moving forward together, and "everyone has the same goal, and that is a strong deterrent and an alliance that is unified" against threats like Russian Federation and China.


"There is nothing being said at all about the troop alignment in Germany or anything that would change the 32,000 troop force that we have in Germany", said a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

After the alliance was established in 1949, its first secretary general, Lord Hastings Ismay, summed up its goal concisely: "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down".

Compare that to non-NATO members facing real threats, some of which spend 5-10 percent of their GDPs on defense. All are former Soviet client states: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

Germany has committed to raising its military spending to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation goal of 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at some point after 2024.

"You can't solve problems if you're not talking about them", Huntsman said.

The White House declined to say if and how Trump might punish the countries.

In recent weeks, Trump suggested withdrawing more than 25,000 US troops stationed in South Korea after trying to persuade Kim to rid his country of nuclear weapons.


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