No major headlines from a background briefing held in the White House briefing room with several senior administration officials about German Chancellor Merkel's coming visit for meetings with POTUS. Some highlights, for those who could not dial in on the phone nor tune in via YouTube:
- The senior administration officials said the White House has "not formulated a final position" on whether it will pursue the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deal with the European Union. POTUS has pledged to only pursue bilateral trade pacts. Notably, one senior administration official said T-TIP could be considered a one-on-one trade deal given how the EU structure interconnects European economies.
- President Trump has been "heartened" by what he has heard from Berlin about devoting more resources to the annual NATO military budget. POTUS intends to talk with Merkel about her government crafting a "concrete plan," the senior official said.
- POTUS is "very interested" to get Merkel's insights about working with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the senior official said.
- Overall, the goal of the meeting is to "build a personal relationship and have a positive interaction," a senior official said.