BREAKING … THE PRESIDENT this morning caused panic at the NATO SUMMIT in Brussels. Before 6 a.m. on the East Coast, German news reports indicated that PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP was threatening to pull out of NATO if countries didn’t up their spending.
AT AROUND 6:20 A.M., Trump — flanked by John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — said that “tremendous progress has been made,” and NATO member countries would be committing “an additional $33 billion.”
— TRUMP: “We are doing numbers like they’ve never done before.” … “I let them know yesterday … that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment.”
AFTER THE EMERGENCY MEETING, Trump said there was a “great collegial spirit in that room.” NATO, Trump said, is a “fine tuned machine.”
CLIP AND SAVE … WHAT WILL DRIVE WASHINGTON NUTS … TRUMP ON PUTIN … “He’s been very nice to me the times I’ve met him, I’ve been nice to him. He’s a competitor. Somebody was saying, ‘Is he an enemy?’ No, he’s not my enemy. Is he a friend? No, I don’t know him well enough. But the couple of times that I’ve gotten to meet him, we got along well… I hope we get along well. But ultimately he’s a competitor. He’s representing Russia. I’m representing the United States. So, in a sense, we’re competitors. It’s not a question of friend or enemy. He’s not my enemy. And hopefully some day maybe he’ll be a friend. It could happen. But I just don’t know him very well. I met him a couple of times.”
ON PUTIN AND MEDDLING: “He may deny it. All I can do is say, ‘Did you?’ and ‘Don’t do it again.’”
ASKED IF HE WOULD change his tune on NATO in a tweet on Air Force One, Trump said he is consistent and a “very stable genius.”
TRUMP SAID “it’s fine” that people are protesting his visit in the United Kingdom because “they like me a lot” there. He called the U.K. a “hot spot” because of the political turmoil.
SIREN … TRUMP ON IRAN: “At a certain point they’re going to call me and say let’s make a deal, and we’ll make a deal.”
LINES OF THE MORNING … TRUMP to PBS’ YAMICHE ALCINDOR (also an MSNBC contributor): “You’re very famous on television.” … When BLOOMBERG’S MARGARET TALEV introduced herself, the president said, “After all these years I know, Margaret.”
— ALSO … FALSE!!!! TRUMP said that Ronald Reagan did not win Wisconsin in 1984. He did! The state he didn’t win was Minnesota!
THIS CAME AFTER an emergency session with NATO allies over defense spending. Perhaps an ominous sign: Earlier in the day, TRUMP showed up 30 minutes late for a meeting centered on Russian aggression.
CONGRESS has been abundantly clear without being rude to the president: NATO is essential. SPEAKER PAUL RYAN just yesterday said NATO is indispensable! But, as we’ve seen so many times, Trump doesn’t really care what Congress says on these big transformative issues. The Hill has been begging him to pull back on tariffs, go tough on Russia and stop alienating U.S. allies, mostly to no avail.
FACT-CHECK – “How does NATO funding work? Not the way Trump says it does,” by CNN’s Ryan Browne: https://cnn.it/2LdYcjd
QUOTE OF THE DAY … WALL STREET JOURNAL’S VALENTINA POP (@valentinapop): “Luxembourg PM @Xavier_Bettel gives download of the NATO dinner last night: ‘Trump was in a good mood, he said Europe is a continent he appreciates and which has to develop its defense spending further. But he has wifi on the plane, so we will have to see in the end.’ #NATOSummit.”
WAPO’S PHIL RUCKER in BRUSSELS: “At NATO dinner last night, Trump bragged about Kim Jong Un summit and said he called golfer Jack Nicklaus to say, ‘They have 1,000 cameras at the Oscars and we had 6,000 cameras in Singapore. The buzz was fantastic,’ an attendee tells WaPo.”
SIREN … BIG DEVELOPMENT IN THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS … THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND — the House GOP leadership-aligned super PAC — will announce today that it raised $51 MILLION in the second quarter of 2018. That’s more than CLF raised all of last cycle. The super PAC has $71 million on hand, and it’s raised $93 million this cycle.
— BEFORE YOU ASK … YES, $30 million of that haul is from SHELDON ADELSON, the Las Vegas casino mogul and prolific Republican donor. But an additional $21 million on top of that is significant and gives Republicans a more-than healthy outside group willing to wage war to keep the majority. Some Republicans and Democrats say the CLF hauls have been landscape-shifting for Republicans’ efforts to keep the majority.
IT HELPS that Republicans have PAUL RYAN, KEVIN MCCARTHY and STEVE SCALISE all fundraising for the NRCC, CLF and Protect the House. It also shows that RYAN has been keeping a break-neck schedule in fundraising — and, we know from our conversations on the Hill that CLF has been working to integrate McCarthy into its fundraising schedule.
TRUTH BOMB … Dozens of Democrats have been outraising their Republican challengers, which makes this kind of cash even more important. We’ll give you a rundown of who gave what to CLF when its report is filed in the coming days.
BIG MATT NUSSBAUM SCOOP … JUST POSTED … “Marc Short, Trump’s director of legislative affairs, is leaving later this month to join a D.C. consulting firm and teach at UVA”: “Short … is taking a position at Guidepost Strategies consulting firm and will teach at the University of Virginia’s business school, where he received his MBA, and will also serve as a senior fellow at the university’s Miller Center.” https://politi.co/2uetIaB
NYT’S MIRIAM JORDAN in LOS ANGELES: “Trump Administration to Speed Reunions of Families Separated at Border”: “The government will stop requiring a litany of steps before a child can be released from a shelter, the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed. It has sued the government over the family separations.
“To speed up …read more
Read more here: POLITICO Playbook: Trump causes chaos at NATO summit