Russian government releases photos of Oval Office meeting

Katrina Barker
May 12, 2017

President Donald Trump had but one meeting on his official schedule for Wednesday, the day after he fired FBI chief James Comey, the man overseeing the investigation into his campaign's potential ties to Russian Federation.

Still, the overlap between the FBI Russia investigation and Mr Trump's diplomatic efforts could not be brushed aside. He's also publicly said that he was looking forward to beginning a dialogue with Trump and his administration.

The pair discussed Syria and focused on ideas for de-escalation, while President Trump said he pressed Russian Federation to "reign in" the Assad regime and Iran.

Comey was investigating possible ties between the Russian government and the Trump team when he was abruptly terminated by the president.

Mr Lavrov said the pair had not discussed sanctions against Russian Federation.

Later at a news conference, Lavrov told reporters that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in July.

Russian Federation denies the allegations. Democrats, he said, "are damaging the political system of the US trying to pretend that someone is controlling America from the outside". Meanwhile relations between the Trump administration and Russian Federation appeared to take on a warmer tone. "You're kidding!" the Russian foreign minister exclaimed when a journalist asked him whether Comey's downfall might throw a shadow over the Russian's visit, The Guardian reports.

"You are kidding. You are kidding", Mr. Lavrov replied.

He was instrumental in the downfall of Trump's first national security adviser, Mike Flynn, who was caught lying about conversations they had before Trump took office.

"I had a bilateral meeting with Rex Tillerson, then the two of us were received by President Trump".

Senior Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said the Oval Office encounter was a photo opportunity for Russian Federation.

At least the Russians were willing to share a few pictures.

Wednesday's meetings followed talks Tillerson held with Putin last month in Moscow.

But Trump remains hopeful that Putin can be convinced to help end the Syrian civil war by reining in Russia's ally President Bashar al-Assad and his other key foreign backer, Iran. Trump recently described relations as being at an "all-time low".

The White House told a reporter for Politico that only "official" photographers were let in.

After Trump ordered missile strikes on a Syria airbase last month in response to Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons, the Russian government condemned the military action, calling Washington's move "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of global law".

As far as the day's discussions are concerned, the White House and the State Department put out terse statements, and gave no briefing, leaving it once again to the Russians to frame the presentation.

Lavrov said the two leaders spoke mostly about de-escalation zones in Syria. Those zones are envisioned under a deal struck by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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