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Day 1119

1/ Trump said he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to NATO countries that were “delinquent” in meeting the group’s guidelines for defense spending. Trump, recounting an exchange from his time in office with the leader of a “big country” who asked whether it would be protected if Russia attacked, said: “You didn’t pay. You’re delinquent […] No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.” The White House called Trump’s comments “appalling and unhinged,” adding that “encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes […] endangers American national security, global stability and our economy at home.” NATO’s secretary-general meanwhile, said that “any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.” After Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, NATO countries pledged to spend 2% of their economic output on defense. So far, only 11 of the 31 member countries have hit that target. (NBC News / Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / BBC / Associated Press / USA Today / The Guardian / Bloomberg / Politico / CNN / CNBC)

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