Trump commits to NATO mutual defense after hesitating

As Comey sat in from of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he repeatedly painted President Trump and his campaign as dishonest liars, who have fudged the facts in order to change and divert from a damaging narrative.

Trump made the statement on June 9 at a news conference in Washington with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in response to a question about the US commitment to respecting Article 5 in case of military aggression on NATO's eastern flank.

President Trump on Friday publically confirmed his administration's commitment to NATO's mutual defense pact known as Article 5.

"It's a good thing that President Trump made explicit what he plainly meant in Brussels last month: the United States stands by the collective security guarantee of NATO Article 5", Cotton said in a statement.

His refusal to clearly endorse Article 5 left allies and adversaries guessing: Was this a negotiating tactic in order to pressure North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to increase their defense spending - a problem acknowledged by successive USA presidents in both parties?

Donald Trump said he would talk about whether recordings of his White House conversations exist "maybe sometime in the near future". Earlier this year, the Romanian Defense Ministry announced its budget would be pegged to 2 percent of gross domestic product, in line with a benchmark set by members of the pact in 2014.

What's puzzling is that the president's staff had reportedly written a line explicitly stating his commitment into the Brussels speech, according to Politico.

While Trump surrogates such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have repeatedly spoken of US commitment to the article, Trump has been reluctant since calling the alliance "obsolete" while on the campaign trail.

President Donald Trump is set to hold his first press conference at the White House Friday since former FBI Director James Comey's testimony.

Trump, with the visiting Romanian leader by his side, also denies Comey's assertion that he demanded his loyalty, saying of Comey - quote - "I hardly know the man". "But we want to get back to running our great country", said President Trump.

Iohannis's visited to the US embraced a period from June 4 through to June 9.

  • Jon Douglas