Angela Merkel, Trump to meet for the first time

The president had no regrets about highlighting comments from Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, about alleged British spying, Spicer told reporters after Trump and Merkel adjourned for a working lunch at which they were to discuss trade issues.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday (16 February) that Europe must not cave in to United States demands to raise military spending, arguing that development and humanitarian aid could also count as security. "But that's not how it works". "Defence spending also goes into United Nations peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism", Ms. von der Leyen said.

"I understand she's coming with a lot of German businesspeople, and [Trump trade adviser] Peter Navarro has said that Germany might be a currency manipulator", Burwell said.

The rather unusual rebuke of Trump by a German defense minister indicates growing concerns in Berlin over transatlantic relations. They have been "playing" the United States for years.

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan also was among the Republicans in Congress, who stated there was no evidence to back Trump's claim.

During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump threatened higher import taxes for countries such as Germany that have a trade surplus over America.

"There is no debit account at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 exclusively to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Merkel previewed that intended focus in Munich on Monday, talking about the importance of trade between Germany and the U.S. Theoretically, Trump could threaten to withdraw some of those troops and move them elsewhere.

Germany is anxious that the Trump administration has little regard for a united Europe and is overly friendly to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Also likely to come up is Germany's apprenticeship program, which could serve as a model for similar programs in the U.S.

Trump's tweets certainly won't make it easier for Chancellor Angela Merkel to persuade a wary German public to increase military funding, even if the US president does not escalate the dispute. When Merkel asked if Trump wanted to shake hands, he ignored her. But that plan still needs to be approved by her government and Parliament.

He welcomed Merkel's commitment to increase military spending to reach the Alliance's target of 2% of GDP per country.

Mr Trump refused to apologise for the accusation.

On 15 March, a British security official told Reuters that under British law, the GCHQ could "only gather intelligence for national security purposes" and that the U.S. election "clearly doesn't meet that criteria".

  • Leroy Wright