Wed. 7:50 a.m.: Trump arrives at NATO headquarters for talks

President Donald Trump has arrived at NATO headquarters in Brussels for the first of two days of summit talks with allies.

Trump is planning to press his counterparts to increase their spending on defense, having publicly criticized many European nations for failing to meet their commitments to the mutual defense pact.

Leaders of the alliance are set to discuss their collective readiness, as well as the future of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and combating terrorism.

Trump is also set to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the meeting.

Merkel is defending her country’s independence following comments from Trump suggesting that Berlin was operating under Russian influence.

Heading into a NATO meeting in Brussels, Merkel noted that she had grown up in communist East Germany.

Without mentioning Trump’s comments specifically, she told reporters Wednesday: “I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that’s very good.”

Earlier, Trump had suggested that because of a new pipeline deal to bring more Russian gas to Germany, “Germany as far as I’m concerned is captive to Russia.”

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