President Trump, taking questions from reporters Tuesday in a joint White House press conference with the leaders of the Baltic States, reiterated his intent to pull U.S. forces out of Syria -- and send U.S. troops to the southern border with Mexico.
Moments earlier Tuesday, Mr. Trump blasted Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement, praised Mexico's own immigration laws, and said the U.S. cannot afford to have the "caravans" of people coming through the border. "Until we have the wall," the U.S. military is necessary, Mr Trump said. During the press conference, Mr. Trump said his administration will have a meeting on the subject with Defense Secretary James Mattis "in a little while."
There is some precedent for a military presence at the border -- both former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama sent the U.S. National Guard to the border, but they had no authority to pursue or detain immigrants.
"We don't have laws," Mr. Trump said. "We have catch and release. You catch and then you immediately release, and people come back years later for a court case, except they virtually never come back. So we are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States. We have a meeting on it in a little while with General Mattis and everybody. And I think that it's something we have to do."
The spokesman for the National Guard says they have "not received any tasking" yet about sending troops to the border, CBS News' David Martin reports.
Mr. Trump made those comments while standing alongside Estonia's President Kersti Kaljulaid, Latvia's President Raimonds Vejonis and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, taking questions from both the U.S. and foreign press. The president also repeated his desire to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, something he said last week he wants to do "very soon."
"We'll be making a decision very quickly, in coordination with others in the area, as to what we'll do," Mr. Trump said.
"I want to get out," he added, pressed about his intentions. "I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation."
But for reporters from the Baltic States, it was the U.S. relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was perhaps of the most interest. Mr. Trump, who recently invited Putin to the White House, said it would be great to have a good relationship with Russia, in response to a foreign reporter's question as to whether he sees Putin as an enemy or someone he can have a dialogue with. Mr. Trump said he believes the two can have a good dialogue, although he isn't sure a good relationship is certain. Mr. Trump insists he has been tougher on Russia than just about any other president.
Mr. Trump's press conference also comes as the White House still has no date announced for another diplomatic meeting, the meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
See below for updates from earlier.
Trump says he thinks he could have a good relationship with Putin
Mr. Trump said he thinks he could have a great relationship with Putin, asked by a foreign reporter if he sees Russia as a foe or someone he could have a dialogue with.
"Well I think we'll be able to have real dialogue," Mr. Trump said.
The president said he thinks he can have a great relationship with Putin -- but said that may not be the case. He also repeated that "getting along" with Russia, or anyone else, is a "good thing."
"Getting along with Russia is a good thing," Mr. Trump said. "Getting along with China is a good thing."
Trump says he's thinking about sending troops in Syria home "very seriously"
Mr. Trump reiterated what he said last week, when he said the U.S. will be pulling out of Syria "very soon."
"I want to pull out," Mr. Trump said Tuesday.
Mr. Trump said the U.S. has seen nothing but "death and destruction" after a $7 trillion investment in the Middle East.
Trump reiterates intent to send troops to southern border
President Trump reiterated that he wants to send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
"We have a meeting on in it a little while with General Mattis," Trump said.
Estonia's president thanks Trump
Estonia's president, Kersti Kaljulaid, also took the stage. All three Baltic State government leaders spoke in English.
Kaljulaid said their nation will be "grateful" forever for their strong partnership with the U.S.
"Yes, Baltic States are quite small, but they are important because of their location," she said.
Latvia's president takes the microphone
Latvia's head of state, Raimonds Vējonis, also emphasized the importance of relations between the Baltic States and the U.S. He thanked Mr. Trump for hosting their nations.
Lithuania's president speaks
Lithuania's president, Dalia Grybauskaite, spoke after Mr. Trump. She outlined how her country has been partnering with the United States.
All three Baltic states can be independent with their own gas supply, she said.
"This is about a real friendship, a real cooperation" between their nations at the United States, she said.
She also said she will support fair trade agreements, one of Mr. Trump's most-discussed issues.
Trump takes the stage
Mr. Trump took the stage, introducing the other world leaders. Mr. Trump thanked them for making the journey.
The president said they will have another 100-year, "beautiful" friendship. The Baltic States have been independent for 100 years.
"Our friendship will continue to grow closer," Mr. Trump said.
Trump, other leaders about to speak
Four microphones on stage are ready for the four world leaders to step up and take questions.
The press conference -- as these things do -- is running slightly behind schedule.