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Trump Hosts Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov And Ambassador Kislyak At White House

12 Mai 2017

President Donald Trump is set to meet with Vladimir Putin's top diplomat at the White House, officials say, marking the highest level contact with Russian Federation of the American leader's young presidency. While it's conceivable that Trump and Lavrov did discuss that issue and that it was omitted from the readout, the White House did not respond to a question about that possibility.

The Russian Embassy tweeted a photo of Trump shaking the hand of Russia's ambassador in what appears to be the Oval Office.

Kislyak has been described by current and former intelligence officials as one of Russia's top spies and spy-recruiters, according to CNN.

Following the Washington meetings, Lavrov and Tillerson were both expected to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of countries in the Arctic Council in Alaska on May 11.

But given the backdrop of a Russian effort to boost Trump's prospects of winning the election, all meetings between senior campaign figures and Russian officials deserve scrutiny. The meeting was the highest-level encounter between the USA administration and Moscow since Trump's inauguration. At the time, Tillerson said relations with Russian Federation needed to be rebuilt.

"The previous administration bent over backwards to undermine the solid foundation of our relations", Lavrov told reporters at the Russian Embassy after meeting Trump. "There is not a single fact, there is no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding Russia's intervention and that's it".

The morning after the president made history and broke USA political norms by firing his Federal Bureau of Investigation director, the meeting with Lavrov was the only event in Trump's official schedule (though he later had an unannounced visit from Richard Nixon's secretary of state Henry Kissinger, as if the echoes of Watergate were not loud enough). Foreign Minister Lavrov says this is Russian property that should be returned.

"Was he fired?" Lavrov joked. "He was sacked? You are kidding!"

Tillerson, who worked extensively in Russian Federation in his former job as CEO of ExxonMobil, has made improving ties with Russian Federation a priority, launching a working group to address the issue.

As a guest on United States soil, it was astonishingly disrespectful to make a joke about such a serious matter, particularly as American intelligence services have already concluded that Russian Federation meddled in the November elections in an attempt to help Donald Trump become president. USA intelligence agencies accuse Moscow of meddling to help Trump's chances of victory. Also at issue, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed a deal on "de-escalation zones" - or safe zones for Syria civilians - at talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, last week.

President Donald Trump kept his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey extraordinarily close to the vest in the 48 hours leading up to the stunning announcement, people close to the White House said, before ultimately concluding that Comey "was his own man" and could not be trusted in a role so pivotal to the presidency.

Sen. John McCain urges a "select committee" to investigate Russian ties to the Trump administration.

McCabe says it's a "highly significant investigation", contradicting statements made by the White House downplaying the significance.

The taint of Russian Federation probes has been impossible for Trump to shake.

In brief remarks to journalists after the meeting, Mr Trump said his decision to abruptly fire Mr Comey the day before meeting Mr Lavrov did not affect the meeting "at all".

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

Relations with Moscow were badly strained by Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine, helping spark a war that has killed more than 9,900 people.

Trump Hosts Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov And Ambassador Kislyak At White House