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Stephen Harper spotted leaving the White House's West Wing logo 2018-07-03 Catharine Tunney
a row of flags: Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper departs the West Wing of the White House, Monday, July 2, 2018, in Washington. © Alex Brandon/Associated Press Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper departs the West Wing of the White House, Monday, July 2, 2018, in Washington.

Stephen Harper was spotted leaving the West Wing earlier Monday, but little is known about what the former prime minister said inside the White House.

Harper was expected to meet on Monday with Larry Kudlow — the director of the National Economic Council and Trump's go-to economic adviser — and John Bolton, the president's national security adviser, according to multiple sources who spoke to CBC News on the condition of anonymity.

An Associated Press photographer snapped a photo of the former Conservative leader leaving the White House, but neither Harper's team nor the U.S. administration has responded to CBC's requests for comment about what happened during Monday's trip to Washington.

Harper did Tweet Monday that he looked forward to meeting with more business and government leaders "to discuss the forces shaping our future," in a plug for his forthcoming book .

Harper, who now works as a consultant, personally approached the two officials for a meeting, sources told CBC News last week.

The sources said Bolton phoned the Canadian embassy in Washington to make some arrangements ahead of the meeting — a call that caught Canadian officials off guard as they were not expecting such a visit.

Harper has not shied away from talking publicly about the Canada-U.S. relationship since leaving office. He has waded into the ongoing NAFTA talks, offering commentary on TV and at conferences.

While he has criticized some of the Liberal government's actions on the trade file, he has defended the merits of NAFTA.

Harper also often meets with international conservative leaders as chair of the International Democrat Union, an alliance of conservative and centre-right parties founded 35 years ago by Britain's Margaret Thatcher, Germany's Helmut Kohl and then-U.S. vice president George Bush Sr., among others.

Harper's meeting came as the U.S. and Canada battle it out over trade.

Kudlow, who recently suffered a heart attack but is back on the job, even took to American airwaves after the G7 summit in Charlevoix to attack Trudeau's plan to impose retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. 

Last month Trump slapped tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel imports  and sought to justify them on national security grounds.

In response, Canada has imposed $16.6 billion worth of new tariffs on a host of U.S. goods, from whiskey to ketchup.

CTV News first reported Harper's planned meeting with Bolton in Washington, citing details contained in emails the broadcaster had obtained.

Also watch: Stephen Harper heads to Washington | Sunday Scrum (Provided by CBC)

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