Trump told reporters last week he would press Putin on election meddling and also discuss Syria and Ukraine during their meeting. The Washington Post reported last week that the Pentagon is assessing the cost and impact of removing U.S. forces from Germany, after Trump expressed interest in the idea.
Much, of course, depends on the president's mood, which is rarely good during global conferences where he bristles at what he considers the unfair economic and security alliances the United States constructed in the wake of WWII and the Cold War.
Trump accused Merkel of pursuing oil and gas deals with Russian Federation that provide Moscow with "billions and billions of dollars" while looking to the United States to protect Germany from Russia's military.
A senior administration official with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly did not initially answer the question about possible troop withdrawals on a conference call with reporters. Trump also rejected the joint communique signed by leaders at the conclusion of the meeting, launching personal attacks against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the process.
"The president will continue to hold Russian Federation accountable for its malign activities", he said, describing the meeting as the first opportunity for an extended conversation about the topic, despite the fact that the two men have met multiple times and spoken at length on the sidelines of various summits, including a meeting that lasted more than two hours in Hamburg, Germany.
The summit will follow a NATO meeting in Brussels where Russian Federation will also top the agenda, said U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison.
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Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday that a new study suggests Germany would have to boost defense spending by more than 80 million euros by 2024.
But Hutchinson, and the US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, gave upbeat assessments of the upcoming meetings. All are former Soviet client states: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
Members of the western military alliance have agreed on a goal of each country devoting 2 percent of GDP to defense within a decade. In addition, Bolton said that he was talking with Putin about the Crimea, stressing that the United States position in respect of ownership of the Crimea remained unchanged.
"My guess is that that will be part of the discussion as well, but I don't want to get ahead of the possible summit conversations", Huntsman said.
The White House reaffirmed Thursday that there are no plans to withdraw or transfer U.S. troops stationed in Germany - and that the issue would not be on the agenda of next week's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.