NATO, Russia and trade top the agenda for Trump talks with Britain's Theresa May

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U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who share an unusual bond as the products of anti-establishment uprisings, will sit down on Friday for what could be a difficult search for unity on NATO, Russia and trade.

The meeting will mark Trump's first with a foreign leader since taking power a week ago, and it could go a long way toward determining how crucial Trump considers the traditional "special relationship" between the two countries.

Trump rode an anti-Washington wave to win on Nov. 8, and May gained power in July after the "Brexit" vote that has put her country on a path to separate from the European Union. The meeting will conclude with a joint White House news conference.

Trump has declared NATO obsolete and expressed a desire for warmer ties with Russia. May considers the trans-Atlantic alliance crucial and is skeptical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: People react to a regional EU referendum result at the Leave.EU campaign's referendum party at Millbank Tower on June 23, 2016 in London, England. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning.(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Paul Nuttall, member of the European parliament, center, reacts to regional European Union (EU) results being announced at the Town Hall in Manchester, U.K., on Friday, June 24, 2016. U.K. referendum results pointed toward a vote to leave the European Union after more than four decades of membership, rocking markets globally and putting a question mark over Prime Minister David Cameron's future in office. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage reacts at the Leave.EU referendum party at Millbank Tower in central London on June 24, 2016, as results indicate that it looks likely the UK will leave the European Union (EU). Top anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage said he was increasingly confident of victory in Britain's EU referendum on Friday, voicing hope that the result 'brings down' the European Union. / AFP / GEOFF CADDICK (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)
Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage (C) reacts at the Leave.EU referendum party at Millbank Tower in central London on June 24, 2016, as results indicate that it looks likely the UK will leave the European Union (EU). Top anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage said he was increasingly confident of victory in Britain's EU referendum on Friday, voicing hope that the result 'brings down' the European Union. / AFP / GEOFF CADDICK (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: People react to a regional EU referendum result at the Leave.EU campaign's referendum party at Millbank Tower on June 23, 2016 in London, England. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning.(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Nigel Farage (L), Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker (R) take part in a plenary session at the European Parliament on the outcome of the "Brexit" summit, in Brussels February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman
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They both want to begin work on a bilateral trade agreement, which for May would provide proof of stability amid the Brexit breakup and for Trump would support his belief that he can negotiate one-on-one trade pacts.

"They both need this to be a success," said Heather Conley, a European expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Trump, she said, "needs to demonstrate that he has a command of issues" while May "needs to hear strong messages of support for her vision of a Britain that works for everyone, a global Britain."

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May, in a speech to Republican lawmakers gathered in Philadelphia on Thursday, suggested she saw the need for some reforms in NATO and for more countries to pay more to the alliance to help fund it, which has been Trump's main complaint about NATO.

"America's leadership role in NATO – supported by Britain – must be the central element around which the alliance is built," May said.

But she said that EU nations "must step up" to ensure NATO remains the cornerstone of the West's defense.

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Trump and May also seem somewhat at odds over how to deal with Russia. In her speech, May said Western leaders should "engage but beware" of Putin and should not accept Putin's claim that Eastern Europe is now in his sphere of influence.Trump, on the other hand, wants a strong U.S. relationship with Russia to fight Islamic State militants.

"I don't know Putin, but if we can get along with Russia, that's a great thing," Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity" on Thursday. "It's good for Russia, it's good for us."

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