I really hope we can put this one away but I doubt it:
A spokesman for the German government on Monday denied media reports that U.S. President Donald Trump handed a multibillion-euro invoice to Chancellor Angela Merkel when they met in Washington earlier this month.
“Reports that President Trump had presented the federal chancellor with a kind of bill with a concrete billion sum are not true,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a press conference.
The story was never all that believable if you don’t think H. R. McMaster and numerous other people in the NSC and Defense and State are blithering idiots. Trump didn’t meet with Merkel alone. Staff from both sides was at every meeting. No one seemed to ask how this came to be or how it remained secret for well over a week or wonder why one anonymous alleged German minister was credible. BUT… because the story involves Trump and feeds into a well-established meme, his boorishness, and his campaign pledge to make NATO nations “pay up” this story took off.
In the sourcing of the story, it is pretty much a metaphor for virtually every other negative Trump story that has come out since January 20. It is both anonymous and apparently untrue. Prediction: Now we’re going to see people saying “of course, they denied it, because they have a reason to lie” without ever wondering if the anonymous and unverified German minister either existed or was accurately quoted.