HC Wake-Up Call: Allies Doubt Trump Threatened to Leave NATO, Trump Criticizes Theresa May Over Brexit Deal & FBI Agent Peter Strzok Testifies

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Allies Doubt Trump Threatened to Leave NATO in Spending Feud

During a meeting with NATO leaders on Thursday, President Donald Trump reportedly said that if the major allies did not meet the two percent GDP military spending agreement by January 2019, the United States “would go it alone.”

Trump also reportedly said that if the accelerated target, which was agreed for 2024, is not honored, the U.S. would “do our own thing.”

While sources did not deny that Trump made those comments, they also said they did not take it as a threat that Trump would withdraw from NATO, ABC News reports.

Several leaders that participated in the meeting issued statements that Trump did not threaten to leave NATO if the demands were not met.

“Trump said things plainly as is normal between friends and allies,” Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said. “We committed ourselves to spending a bit more.”

“President Trump, never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said the president did not say he would withdraw from NATO.

“He didn't say that. He said he is very committed to NATO and the fact that we have made many important decisions on stepping up the fight against terrorism, new command structure, combined with more defense spending makes NATO stronger and we are more united because we had open and frank discussions,” Stoltenberg said.

When asked about Trump’s comments and if the U.S. would leave NATO if the two percent military spending agreement was not met by January, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders would not comments on the statements, according to ABC News, but also said that Trump did not offer another deadline for the other NATO members to meet the requirement.

President Trump “didn’t set a timetable, but he was very clear that other countries needed to step up and fulfill their obligations,” Sanders told ABC News.

Trump Criticizes British PM Theresa May Over Brexit Deal

After President Donald Trump landed in the UK on Thursday, the president spoke with The Sun about how he disagreed with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to Brexit.

“I told her how to do it. That will be up to her to say. But I told her how to do it. She wanted to go a different route,” Trump said in an audio recording of the interview.

Trump said May “didn’t listen” to his opinion on how she should handle the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“She should negotiate the best way she knows how, but it's too bad what's going on,” Trump said.

Trump told The Sun that May’s approach to keeping ties with the EU would “affect trade with the United States, unfortunately in a negative way,” and mentioned the Trump administration’s recent trade conflict with the EU.

“If they do a deal like that, it will most likely, because we'll be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said.

“If they do that, their trade deal with the US will probably not be made because we have enough difficulty with the European Union,” Trump added.

Trump’s interview comes after May received criticism from her own government, including Boris Johnson, who recently resigned as the Foreign Secretary, after she announced the plan on how to move forward with separating from the EU.

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Testifies At Joint House Committee Hearing

FBI Agent Peter Strozk’s anti-Trump text messages fueled the flames of the argument that the intelligence agency was against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. At the tense joint House Committee hearing, Strzok called the hearing centered on his conduct “just another victory notch in Putin’s belt.”

“I have the utmost respect for Congress’ oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart,” Strzok said at the hearing held by the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees.

According to The Huffington Post, Strzok played a role in both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the then-covert investigation on possible ties between Russia and top Trump campaign officials. Strzok also served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team until his text messages to former FBI attorney Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, in which he states “we’ll stop” Trump from being elected came to light.

“In the summer of 2016, we had an urgent need to protect the integrity of an American presidential election from a hostile foreign power determined to weaken and divide the United States of America,” Strzok said. “This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax.”

Strzok said there was “simply no evidence of bias” in his professional conduct after months of investigations and that there was an “extraordinarily important piece of evidence” that supported his lack of bias: that the investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election was not divulged to the public.

“In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign,” Strzok said. “This information had the potential to derail, and quite possibly defeat, Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”

In his testimony, Strzok said he regretted that his text messages “created confusion” and “provided ammunition for misguided attacks against the FBI, an institution I love deeply and have served proudly for more than 20 years.”

What to look out for…

It's Friday the 13th today. Wishing you positive vibes. 

Emily Veith is a recent Cal Poly SLO graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science (and a Law and Society minor). Emily loves writing and talking about politics. She has worked on political campaigns and in legislative offices, and aspires to be a politician someday. Emily has also written numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. She is an old soul who loves Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Glenn Miller. When she isn't writing about imperative news- and political-related topics, she can be found attempting new recipes, playing her guitar, or reading a good mystery book. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.

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