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Trump in Brussels. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

President Trump called an emergency meeting of NATO leaders at the summit in Brussels on Thursday, then held a surprise press conference and said there was a "tremendous amount of progress today."

Why it matters: At the meeting, Trump threatened to "do his own thing" if member countries do not immediately increase defense spending commitments, the Washington Post's Michael Birnbaum and Phil Rucker report, citing officials briefed on the events. Some diplomats reportedly interpreted Trump's comments as a threat to withdraw from NATO.

Details:

  • "Trump told NATO leaders that if they did not meet their defense spending targets of 2 percent of gross domestic product by January, the United States would go it alone, according to two officials briefed on the meeting."
  • "Trump scolded leaders here and singled out some specific countries, including Germany and Spain."

Speaking to reporters after the emergency meeting, Trump said, "I told people that I'd be very unhappy if they didn't up their financial commitments substantially."

  • "Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before,” Trump said. Macron later refuted Trump and said NATO leaders did not agree to increase defense spending to more than 2% of GDP.
  • Trump again called himself a "very stable genius" and claimed he got NATO countries other than the U.S. to contribute an additional $33 billion to defense spending "since last year."

Go deeper: NATO strengthened at summit despite Trump's threats

Go deeper

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson e in the t figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.

GOP to use Supreme Court fight to target vulnerable Dems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Conservatives know they're unlikely to stop President Biden from filling a Supreme Court vacancy, but they plan to target Senate Democrats who face competitive re-election fights and are all but certain to vote for the successor to Justice Stephen Breyer.

Between the lines: The general strategy will be to tie those Democrats to positions seen as political liabilities in states like Arizona, Georgia and New Hampshire, where incumbents are seeking re-election this year, an operative briefed on early strategy talks told Axios.

5 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.