>> US President Donald Trump on Monday laying the ground work for a high level meeting of world leaders. Speaking with both Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, ahead of the G20 meetings in Hamburg later this week. His last diplomatic foray greeted with mixed reaction from NATO members, and a Pew poll last month showing a sharp decline in the image of the US abroad.
Trump and Merkel's call particularly scrutinized, the German chancellor last month saying her nation appeared to no longer be able to count on its traditional allies. And the latest election program for Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party has even dropped the term, friend, to describe the United States. Trump also tweeting early Monday that he's spoken with King Salman of Saudi Arabia about Mideast peace and that quote, interesting things are happening.
The G20 meeting takes place Friday and Saturday.