Trump says Putin is neither friend nor foe

U.S. President Donald Trump takes his seat as he attends the multilateral meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/pool)

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump says Russian President Vladimir Putin is neither friend nor foe. Instead, the U.S. leader calls Putin a "competitor" and says he is representing the best interests of the Russian people as he represents those of Americans.

Speaking during an unscheduled press conference at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump says his sit-down with Putin will be "just a loose meeting," but said significant progress could be made in the relationship. The U.S. and Russia leaders are to meet Monday in Helsinki.

Trump's meeting with Putin has been met by skepticism from NATO allies concerned that he will not be sufficiently tough with the leader. Trump says he will raise Russian election meddling in Western elections with Putin.

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BRUSSELS (AP) —President Donald Trump plans to make a statement at the NATO summit in Brussels.

The White House says the president will address reporters before he departs for the United Kingdom, the next stop on his weeklong visit to Europe.

The statement follows tense discussions at the summit over Trump's criticism of most NATO allies for not spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense as well as his demand that they immediately double such spending. Trump also criticized Germany over a natural gas pipeline deal with Russia.

Two officials at the summit say the alliance is currently meeting in an emergency session amid Trump's demands.

Trump tweeted Thursday morning on NATO here is what he said:


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