Russian government releases photos of Oval Office meeting

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's talks with Trump were already destined to be a closely watched affair, given the dire state of U.S.

Pictured for the first time since he fired Comey, Trump stood in the White House, grinning widely, as he shook the hand of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak - the very man several of his associates have said they met with during last year's campaign.

They also met on November 17 in NY nine days after he was elected preside.

Lavrov notes that Trump dismisses the matter as "false news". The meeting was the highest-level encounter between the USA administration and Moscow since Trump's inauguration.

"I had a bilateral meeting with Rex Tillerson, then the two of us were received by President Trump", the Russian top diplomat said. None were apparently reached Wednesday.

Trump's meeting with Lavrov is his highest-level in-person engagement with the Russian government since he was inaugurated.

"President Trump has reiterated that defeating terrorism is the United States' main priority as far as Syria is concerned".

Russia's foreign minister sarcastically acknowledged the abrupt dismissal of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey by saying "Was he fired?" As the pair posed for photographs, Lavrov sarcastically acknowledged the abrupt dismissal of Comey.

You may remember Trump was once positively gleeful about the FBI's investigation of Clinton, basking in "lock her up" chants at campaign stops across the country previous year. Trump insisted that wasn't the case. He said Wednesday he fired Comey because he "was not doing a good job".


Still, the overlap between the investigation and Trump's diplomatic efforts made for uncomfortable optics.

President Donald Trump met Wednesday with Henry Kissinger in a meeting not listed on the president's schedule.

Lavrov chalked up the controversy to "noise" and to "false news" - invoking Trump's frequent references to the Russian Federation allegations as "fake news".

Russia, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has taken a central role in ongoing Syria peace talks, while the United States - which continues to target ISIS in Syria and Iraq as part of an global coalition - has not been directly involved. "This is a unilateral act that has been done against us", he said.

Lavrov's visit comes after Tillerson's contentious visit to Moscow just a week after the USA fired missiles at an airbase in Syria in response to a chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

"We believe the U.S.is really interested in that", Lavrov said, acknowledged details of the plan still needed to be worked out.

US reporters were not permitted to cover the meeting.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf) says Russia wants the U.S.to play an active role in helping secure four de-escalation zones in Syria. Nevertheless, Lavrov struck a conciliatory tone and said Russian Federation isn't intending to retaliate.

Comey had asked Rosenstein last week for a significant boost in resources and later briefed USA lawmakers on the request, the Times said, citing three unnamed officials.


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