President Donald Trump met with a key figure at the center of the probe into Trump's campaign, Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, and the only official transmission of the moment came from an official Russian government photographer. Photos after the jump.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russian Federation, the White House said.
On Wednesday morning Russia's foreign minister finds himself in Washington meeting both Donald Trump and his secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
The meeting was Trump's highest level face-to-face contact with a Russian official since taking office and in itself represented modest progress.
On Tuesday night Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, the man in charge of investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation to swing the election.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's talks with Trump were already destined to be a closely watched affair, given the dire state of U.S.
The White House said in a readout of their meeting that Trump "emphasised the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, in particular, underscoring the need for Russian Federation to rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies". Journalists typically cover portions of meetings between the president and heads of state or government.
The president also said the issue had not affected his meeting with Lavrov.
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"I believe that it is politicians who are damaging the political system of the USA trying to pretend that someone is trying to controlling America from the outside", Lavrov said.
Trump spoke to reporters of the press pool during the open-portion for his meeting with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Even as Russian Federation and the U.S resume talks, the same won't be enough to end the unfolding political drama where the Kremlin is accused of meddling in the U.S elections past year. "Americans are learning about what Trump is doing with Russian Federation from Russia, not from the White House", observed Axios news. White House officials have denied that's the case.
Asked about Comey's firing at a briefing later, Lavrov said it was an internal usa matter and not for him to discuss.
Lavrov said he had sought support for a plan to create safe zones in Syria.
In brief remarks to reporters, Mr. Trump said he fired Mr. Comey "because he was not doing a good job". "You're kidding. You're kidding".
Since the end of Obama's presidency in January, the United States has gradually withdrawn from the diplomatic process, leaving Russian Federation to take the lead.