Overnight Defense: Trump suggests NATO allies should reimburse US | Doubts grow over North Korea | Embassy in Haiti requests more Marines amid violence | VA pick headed to Senate floor vote

Overnight Defense: Trump suggests NATO allies should reimburse US | Doubts grow over North Korea | Embassy in Haiti requests more Marines amid violence | VA pick headed to Senate floor vote
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Happy Tuesday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond.

 

THE TOPLINE: On the cusp of the NATO summit, President TrumpDonald John TrumpIran claims it rejected Trump meeting requests 8 times ESPY host jokes Putin was as happy after Trump summit as Ovechkin winning Stanley Cup Russian ambassador: Trump made ‘verbal agreements’ with Putin MORE on Tuesday suggested countries that haven't made their full contributions to fund the alliance should reimburse the U.S.

"Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?" Trump tweeted as he traveled to Brussels to meet with NATO leaders.

The tweet further stoked Trump's feud with members of the alliance, set to take part in the annual NATO summit scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

The second time in two days: Trump's tweet comes a day after he wrote on Twitter that U.S. spending compared to allies is unfair.

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"The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%, and NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S," the president wrote in a series of tweets.

In actualitydefense spending as a share of GDP is 3.57 percent for the United States and 1.24 percent for Germany, according to NATO's annual report.

Besides the United States, seven countries are meeting or expected this year to meet the 2 percent goal.

A longstanding thorn: Trump has long been critical of what he views as the U.S. taking on a disproportionate burden in funding NATO, but he has ratcheted up those complaints in the days leading up to the summit.

NATO members agreed in 2014 to move toward spending at least 2 percent of their respective gross domestic product on defense by 2024.

Trump reportedly wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other NATO allies last month to chastise them for failing to live up to their spending obligations. He further warned that the U.S. could alter its military deployments if nothing changes.

 

DOUBTS GROW OVER NORTH KOREA: President Trump said Monday he was confident that North Korea would uphold an agreement to denuclearize, downplaying signs the country is pouring cold water on a deal.

Trump also blamed China for statements from North Korea criticizing the United States's demands as "gangster-like," arguing it was putting pressure on its longtime ally.

China's influence: "I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake," Trump tweeted. "We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!"

Beijing has been accused of playing spoiler before, with some speculating the rhetoric from Pyongyang that almost derailed the Singapore summit was the result of something Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on his May trip to China.

Questions remain after Pompeo's visit: North Korea's rejection of the United States's call for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, made following Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump’s damage control falters State Dept. doesn’t issue statement on anniversary of MH17 downing Diplomatic niceties can blur the lines of personal and national interests MORE's visit, raised immediate questions about the country's intentions.

Some saw the statement as a negotiating tactic meant to extract more concessions, others as a sign that North Korea has little intention of following through on denuclearization.

Other promises Kim made at the summit, including the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War and the destruction of a missile engine testing site, have yet to be carried out.

But Pompeo brushes it off: Pompeo, who when leaving Pyongyang described his meetings as "productive," brushed off the "gangster" comments from North Korea.

"I was there for the event," Pompeo told reporters in Japan. "I know actually what precisely took place. When we spoke to them about the scope of denuclearization, they did not push back. It wasn't my language; it was the language of Chairman Kim. He committed to complete denuclearization."

 

US EMBASSY IN HAITI REQUESTS MORE MARINES: The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has requested additional security personnel including Marines as the Haitian capital has been gripped by days of protests over a government plan to raise fuel prices and cut food subsidies, according to multiple reports.

A request made by the embassy includes a Marine Security Guard Augmentation Unit consisting of about 13 Marines and other personnel to reinforce existing embassy security, CNN reported Tuesday.

The request has been approved by Trump administration officials, the network added.

The new notifications: Staff at the embassy have been instructed to shelter in place by State Department officials, and a travel advisory urging U.S. citizens to stay away from the airport unless absolutely necessary was issued Tuesday afternoon.

"Due to the security situation, U.S. government personnel continue to shelter in place and U.S. citizens are advised to do the same. If you attempt to go to the airport, exercise extreme caution and only do so if the route is open," reads the advisory posted on the State Department's website.

"Do not travel to the airport unless you have a confirmed airline ticket. Contact the airline for information on seat availability. Expect large crowds and delays at the airport," the statement continued.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

Rear Adm. William Galinis, Navy Program Executive Officer for Ships, will speak at the Navy League breakfast at 6:45 a.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City in Arlington, Va. 

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a discussion on the lessons from the G-7, North Korea and NATO summits starting at 9 a.m. in Washington, D.C. 

A House Oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood's global threat at 10 a.m. in Rayburn House Office Building, room 2154. 

A House Armed Services subpanel will hear from Mark Mitchell, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict on the Defense Department's role in foreign assistance at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2118. 

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: FDA approves freeze-dried blood plasma for troops in combat

-- The Hill: Senate moves to start negotiations on defense policy bill

-- The Hill: VA nominee heads to full Senate confirmation

-- The Hill: Lawmakers target Chinese security companies over spy fears

-- The Hill: State Department adds Iran-backed group in Bahrain to list of terror organizations

-- The Hill: US Embassy in London warns Americans to 'keep low profile' during Trump visit

-- Defense News: Trump says Putin meeting may be 'easiest' of Europe tour. Could he be right?

--Stars and Stripes: Former Fitzgerald commander pleads not guilty to three criminal charges from collision