Trump stands by Obama wiretap claim

Katherine Zappone

United States President Donald Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week and it was there that Trump ran into some huge questions from a certain German reporter, and the world is talking big time about it.

During the press conference President Trump reiterated his strong support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and urged Mrs Merkel to meet military spending target.

The German chancellor is trying to forge a relationship with Trump despite suspicion over his political views.

The visit began cordially, with the pair shaking hands at the entrance of the White House.

In her first visit to the White House in the Trump era, Merkel said that there were areas were they "disagreed" but they would try to find "compromises good for both sides". But US officials have publicly praised the alliance since Trump took office, and Merkel is among European leaders who have outlined steps to boost defense spending to the target level.

Last January, Merkel told Trump in a phone call that the Geneva convention requires the worldwide community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds.

Trump, with one sentence, roped Merkel into his wiretapping controversy, and she appeared displeased.

Mrs Merkel sought to break the ice, saying that it was "much better to talk to one another than about one another".

But Mr Trump himself offered no public apologies and suggested there was nothing wrong with the White House repeating what it had heard.

The US and United Kingdom are members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which prohibits members from spying on each other.

But even the lighter moments were tinged with tension.

Mr Trump said he "very seldom" regrets anything he tweets, brushing off questions about his claims without evidence that his predecessor, Mr Obama, wiretapped him during last year's presidential campaign.

In one, the leaders failed to stage a handshake for cameras in the Oval Office, and in another Merkel looked baffled by comments made by Trump during a joint press conference.

Mr Trump has ruffled feathers in Germany by threatening its carmakers with tariffs and calling on Berlin to boost defence spending.

His family hails from Kallstadt, a tidy village nestled in southwest Germany's lush wine country. She stressed that the European Commission is the responsible body to negotiate trade deals in the EU.

Germany spent $37 billion on defense in 2016. The president has since said that this allegation was based exclusively on media reports (which do not actually support his allegation) and that his tweets should not be taken literally.

Trump did not defend the substance of his accusation on Friday afternoon.

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