Trump attends NATO summit

By Meg Wagner, James Masters and Veronica Rocha, CNN
4:21 p.m. ET, July 12, 2018
7:42 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

5 key takeaways from Trump's news conference

President Trump just wrapped up a news conference after the NATO summit in Brussels.

Here are five of the key things he said:

  • On increased defense spending: Trump said other US allies agreed to increase their defense spending, something the President has repeatedly demanded NATO members do. "Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment. They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before," Trump said.
  • On the possibility of pulling out of NATO: The President said he believes he "probably" could withdraw from the alliance without congressional approval — but said that was "unnecessary." "I think I probably can, but that is unnecessary. They have stepped up today like they have never stepped up before," he said.
  • On his tough talk toward Germany: Trump defended his approach to dealing with NATO allies, in particular Germany, calling it "a very effective way to deal." (At the beginning of the summit he accused Germany of being a "captive" of Russia.)
  • On Russia election meddling: The President said he will ask Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting Monday about Russian election meddling during the 2016 campaign. "I will be asking that question again ... He may deny it. It's one of those things," Trump said.
  • On his upcoming UK trip: President Trump heads to the UK today. He said he is OK with protests set to take place there, and added "I think they like me a lot in the UK."
7:07 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump answers questions about North Korea, Iran and others

President Trump answered a number of questions from US and international journalists during his post-NATO summit press conference.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • On Iran: Trump said he believes tensions between the US and Iran may escalate in the future, but said he believes Iran will ultimately want to come to the table to "make a deal."
  • On North Korea: Trump expressed confidence in the diplomatic process with North Korea — despite recent fiery North Korean statements. Trump also again touted his meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, calling it "an amazing meeting" and saying the two "established very good relations."
  • On Russia: The President said he will ask Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki once again about Russian election meddling during the 2016 campaign. "I will be asking that question again ... He may deny it. It's one of those things," Trump said.
  • On the UK: Trump said he is OK with protests set to take place in the UK for the President's visit there later today. "I think they like me a lot in the UK," he added.

6:55 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump doesn’t rule out stopping military games in Baltics

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Trump did not rule out ceasing military exercises in the Baltic States if Russian President Vladimir Putin requested it during their meeting Monday. 

Asked if he would cancel them, Trump said, “Perhaps we’ll talk about that.” 

Trump and Putin are set to meet in Finland on Monday.

6:54 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump says he will ask Russia about election meddling

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

President Donald Trump said Thursday he will ask Russian President Vladimir Putin at their upcoming meeting about Russian election meddling during the 2016 campaign.

"I will be asking that question again," Trump said. "He may deny it. It's one of those things."

Trump also said he would tell Putin: "Don't do it again."

6:51 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump's going to the UK after this: "I think they like me a lot"

President Donald Trump said he is OK with protests set to take place in the UK for the President's visit there later today.

"I think it’s fine," Trump said. "I think they like me a lot in the UK."

Trump also said he is going to "a pretty hot spot" right now, pointing to the string of resignations from Prime Minister's Theresa May's government.

Watch more:

6:47 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump: "I have no doubt" allies will increase spending

President Trump was asked what he'd do if US allies don't up their defense spending.

Here's how he responded

"They will. They will. I have no doubt about it. They all made commitments, and they will be up to 2% over a period — a relatively short period of years." 

6:45 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump defends tough talk on Germany

From CNN's Jeremy Daimond

President Trump defended his approach to dealing with NATO allies, in particular Germany, during his news conference on Thursday, calling it "a very effective way to deal."

"I think it's a very effective way to deal," Trump said when askedabout his insulting comments aimed at Germany. "It's a very effective way of negotiating."

Trump pointed to increased financial commitments from NATO allies as a measure of his success, though it was not immediately clear what specific pledges he secured and the President declined to elaborate beyond saying NATO allies will spend more on defense and faster.

He also pointed to progress over the last year, prior to this NATO summit.

"We took in $33 billion more," Trump said, pointing to increased financial commitments.

Trump insisted that "everybody in that room got along," referring to NATO allies.

6:37 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump: I could pull out of NATO, but that's "unnecessary"

President Trump was just asked directly he was threatening to pull out of NATO.

A reporter asked: "Are you still threatening to potentially pull the United States out of NATO for any reason, and do you believe you can do that without Congress's explicit support and approval? 

Here's what Trump said:

"I think I probably can, but that is unnecessary. They have stepped up today like they have never stepped up before."

6:28 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump: "I told people that I would be very unhappy" if allies didn't increase spending

President Trump, speaking at a press conference after the NATO summit, said he would have been "very unhappy" if other NATO member didn't increase their defense spending.

"I told people that I would be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments very substantially. Because The United States has been paying a tremendous amount —probably 90% of the cost of NATO."

Trump then added that allies have agreed to increase their spending.

"Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment. They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before," Trump said.

Many NATO members were already working to increase their financial commitments in recent years, so it's unclear what's new.

"Now we're very happy," Trump said