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In a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in London on Tuesday, President Trump shot back at Emmanuel Macron for his recent criticism of the alliance, calling the French president's comments "very insulting" and "nasty."

"NATO serves a great purpose. It got to be unfair for the United States because the United States was paying a disproportionate amount. And I hear that President Macron said NATO is "brain dead." I think that's very insulting to a lot of different forces. ... When you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to 28 — including them — 28 countries. You have a real high unemployment rate in France. France is not doing well economically at all."

Why it matters: Trump himself has called the trans-Atlantic alliance "obsolete" and frequently attacks other member states for failing to pay their fair share. The comments underscore the president's recent frustrations with Macron, who said in an interview that NATO is suffering "brain death" now that America's commitment has come into question under Trump.

  • On Monday night, as Trump landed in London, the U.S. Trade Representative announced that it is considering implementing tariffs of up to 100% on 2.4% billion worth of French goods in response to France's digital tax.

The big picture: Trump touched on a wide array of subjects during his 52-minute press spray with Stoltenberg, where he began a tense NATO summit at the same time that the House Judiciary Committee was preparing to hold its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, more than 3,000 miles away.

  • On the U.K. election: Trump declined to wade into the U.K.'s high-stakes election, which is in just nine days and will see one of his closest allies Boris Johnson take on the left-wing Jeremy Corbyn to determine the future of Brexit. On allegations that the U.S. would want access to Britain's beloved National Health Service in a future trade deal, Trump said he has "nothing to do with it" and "wouldn't want to."
  • On proposed tariffs on France: Trump said he was no fan of big tech companies like Facebook and Google that will be hit by France's digital tax, but argued: "I'm not going to let people take advantage of American companies because if anyone is going to take advantage of the American companies it is going to be us, it's not going to be France."
  • On impeachment: "I think it's very unpatriotic of the Democrats to put on a performance ... Now they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment. They want to go to censure. I don't mind being censured if you do something wrong. I did nothing wrong."
  • On North Korea: Trump claimed that South Korea has agreed to pay "approximately $500 million a year more for protection," which he said is "fair" considering what the U.S. does for the country. He claimed there would be war in Asia if he weren't president and denied that Kim Jong-un is continuing to build his nuclear program, telling a reporter: "You don't know that."
  • On the China trade war: Fears are growing that a trade deal will not be struck by the end of the year, especially in the wake of pro-Hong Kong legislation passed by Congress. Trump said he has "no deadline" and that he may want to wait until after the 2020 election, telling reporters: "The China trade deal is dependent on one thing: Do I want to make it? Because we're doing very well with China right now, and we can do even better with the flick of a pen."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

The latest: The president called Doocy Monday evening, the reporter told Fox's Sean Hannity. "He cleared the air and I appreciated it. We had a nice call," Doocy said when asked whether the president apologized, adding: "I don't need anyone to apologize to me."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker