PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP mostly dispensed with the niceties this morning in Brussels, and threw verbal bombs at Germany and NATO during his first day in Europe.
AT A MORNING BREAKFAST WITH NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said that Germany is a captive and is “totally controlled” by Russia because it made a “massive oil and gas deal” with Vladimir Putin’s country -- an apparent reference to the Nord Stream II pipeline. He essentially said the U.S. is paying to defend Germany, as Germany makes Russia richer. Other presidents have been opposed to this situation, Trump said, but no one has been as forceful about it. Trump mentioned that former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is an executive with the company, hinting that the deal was not totally on the level.
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TRUMP ALSO BROUGHT UP what he sees as Germany’s skimping out on defense and NATO spending, saying that they could increase their outlays tomorrow if they wanted. He said the whole situation is patently unfair to U.S. taxpayers.
IN THE ROOM: Staunch NATO defenders such as chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who formerly held a NATO post. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Trump’s ambassador to NATO and a former senator from Texas, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were also in the room.
Trump tweeted the video >http://bit.ly/2uaWmcG
READ POLITICO EU'S DAVID HERSZENHORN, who is covering the summit in Brussels for us https://politi.co/2L5z2mR
WSJ’S REBECCA BALLHAUS in
BRUSSELS: “A NATO official said that expectations were very low for the summit, given Mr. Trump’s unabashed criticism of Germany. ‘The mood ahead of the G-7 was also quite bad and still it ended worse than expected,’ the official said.” >http://bit.ly/2mb6KNc
WSJ'S VALENTINA POP: "Funny @jensstoltenberg. Asked how the breakfast with @realDonaldTrump went, he smiled and said: 'We had excellent orange juice and toast. We had a good breakfast. Paid by the US.' #NATOSummit2018 #germany #bashing"
SPLIT SCREEN ... TWO AMERICAS ... The Senate yesterday overwhelmingly cleared a resolution supporting NATO. It passed 97-2.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS told reporters that Trump will have “a pull-aside meeting” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at 3:15 p.m. and with French President Emmanuel Macron at 4 p.m. “There will be no coverage of either meeting. Sanders said she would brief the pool afterward to read out,” according to pooler Julie Davis of the New York Times.
-- CNN’S BARBARA STARR will sit down with Stoltenberg for an exclusive interview that will air on the network later today.
TRUMP and first lady Melania Trump will meet Friday with the Queen of England at Windsor Castle. From the palace: “Her Majesty will welcome the President and the First Lady Melania Trump at the dais in the Quadrangle of the Castle. A Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards, will give a Royal Salute and the U.S. national anthem will be played. President Trump will inspect the Guard of Honour before watching the military march past and will then join the Queen for tea with the First Lady.”
BREAKING … KEVIN MCCARTHY RAISES AN ASTOUNDING $12 MILLION IN Q2 … HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY raised $12,120,531 into his four fundraising committees, a sum that insiders believe is the highest quarterly take by a majority leader.
MCCARTHY has raised $40 million this cycle, and has raised and contributed $20 million for other House Republicans in events in D.C. and around the country.
-- WHAT THIS MEANS: Since 2009, the California Republican has been traveling the country, helping raise money and recruit candidates for the GOP. But now, McCarthy is putting together an impressive fundraising resume that will, at some point, make a case for why he thinks he should lead the party. Piling up eight-figure fundraising quarters is a big deal, and usually reserved for the speaker and minority leader. Plus, Republicans will need every last dime of this cash if they want a chance at keeping their majority come this fall.
NYT’S MIRIAM JORDAN, KATIE BENNER, RON NIXON and
CAITLIN DICKERSON on A1 with a
“As Migrant Families Are Reunited, Some Children Don’t Recognize Their Mothers”: “One mother had waited four months to wrap her arms around her little boy. Another had waited three months to see her little girl again. When the reunions finally happened Tuesday in Phoenix, the mothers were met with cries of rejection from their children.
“‘He didn’t recognize me,’ said Mirce Alba Lopez, 31, of her 3-year-old son, Ederson, her eyes welling up with tears. ‘My joy turned temporarily to sadness.’ For Milka Pablo, 35, it was no different. Her 3-year-old daughter, Darly, screamed and tried to wiggle free from her mother’s embrace.
“The tearful reunions — ordered by a court in California — came as the government said that it would release hundreds of migrant families wearing ankle bracelet monitors into the United States, effectively returning to the ‘catch and release’ policy that President Trump promised to eliminate.
“Faced with a pair of court orders restricting immigration detentions , federal officials said that they could not hold all of the migrant families who had been apprehended. They said that their hands were tied by dueling requirements to release children from detention after 20 days and also to keep them with their parents or other adult relatives.” >https://nyti.ms/2man9kV
Good Wednesday morning. FRUSTRATION BUILDS … WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN KEVIN BRADY (R-Texas) Tuesday night called for Trump to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid an increasingly intense trade war. This statement comes after Trump announced $200 billion in new tariffs on China.
Doug Palmer and Adam Behsudi on details of the tariffs, which includes “seafood, minerals, chemicals, and personal care items, such as shampoo and soap
… [and] a number of consumer products such as handbags, luggage, gloves and paper” https://politi.co/2ubwWeV …
The new tariff list from USTR http://bit.ly/2NIPk72
BRADY: “With this announcement, it’s clear the escalating trade dispute with China will go one of two ways – a long, multi-year trade war between the two largest economies in the world that engulfs more and more of the globe, or a deliberate decision by President Trump and President XI to meet and begin crafting an agreement that levels the playing field between China and the U.S. for local farmers, workers and businesses.”
****** A message from the Alzheimer’s Association: Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country. Every hour, Alzheimer’s costs taxpayers $21 million dollars. Today, Alzheimer’s costs the country $277 billion a year and that will quadruple to more than $1 trillion over the next generation. Funding for Alzheimer’s research must increase. Learn more at >alz.org/askcongress ******
NATASHA KORECKI in
CHICAGO: “Pence launches Midwest damage control mission”: “Vice President Mike Pence begins a campaign swing through the Midwest on Wednesday designed to fire up the base in three battleground House districts. But there’s also a secondary mission: damage control.
“In the face of a trade war that intensified just four days ago, Pence is quietly setting up one-on-one meetings with major Midwestern donors where he is prepared to blunt concerns over an escalating situation that’s beginning to wreak havoc on markets, farmers and employers across the region. ...
“The vice-president’s trip … will take him to Kansas City, Cedar Rapids and Chicago, where he’ll meet privately with big donors and attend fundraisers for three embattled Republican House incumbents.” >https://politi.co/2KLJELz
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … COMING ATTRACTIONS … NEW HOUSE GOP MESSAGE: “BETTER OFF NOW” … HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS of Washington State will unveil a new “messaging theme” at a closed party meeting this morning in the Capitol: “Better Off Now.” The 2016 election slogan was “A Better Way.” CMR will show a glossy minute-and-half video with Republican lawmakers touting what they see as their achievements of the last two years, making the case that Americans are better off now due to Republican policies.
IN THE VIDEO: Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and a bunch of rank-and-file lawmakers.
The video http://bit.ly/2ugAQDt …
The Better.gop website http://bit.ly/2NG7rul
MEANWHILE … RACHAEL BADE and
JOHN BRESNAHAN: “Jordan steps up defense amid sex abuse firestorm”: “Embattled conservative Rep. Jim Jordan is stepping up his efforts to fight accusations that he ignored sexual abuse decades ago, allegations that threaten to tarnish his reputation and undermine his standing in Congress.
“The Ohio Republican’s allies — from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to former wrestlers at Ohio State University — have released statements of support or gone on TV defending Jordan’s character. He has also hired a conservative-leaning public relations firm to help him deal with the media furor, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. The group launched a new website Monday: StandWithJimJordan.com.
“‘We reached out to Jim as soon as we saw the story,’ said Diana Banister, who is leading Shirley & Banister’s work for Jordan. ‘We reached out to the congressman because he's a friend. He has a situation on his hands, and we wanted to be of help, of counsel, whatever we could do for him.’” >https://politi.co/2L3rTa3