"We had a very, very good meeting" Trump said shortly after seeing Lavrov.
Vladimir Putin's top diplomat arrived at the White House mid-morning Wednesday for a 25-minute meeting with the leader of the free world. It did not note that accompanying Lavrov would be Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (photo), the man at the center of much of the intelligence community's investigation into Trump associates who have ties to Russia.
According to the statement, Trump emphasized the need for the US and Russia to work together to end violence in Syria and Ukraine, floated the prospect of US-Russia cooperation on resolving Middle East conflicts and returned to a campaign theme by emphasizing his desire for better relations with Moscow. While the Trump administration blamed Comey for mishandling the email investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the bureau chief's departure coincided with the FBI investigation of whether Trump's presidential bid was aided by Russian Federation.
The situation in Syria was among the topics discussed at the meeting, which is part of Lavrov's three-day trip to the US. This ambition has been largely derailed, however, by continued questions over his campaign's alleged ties to Russia, accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election and the two countries' disagreements over Syria.
Lavrov's meetings with Trump administration officials came as the New York Times broke news that days before his firing, Comey "asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in money and personnel for the bureau's investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election".
Lavrov is speaking at the Russian Embassy in Washington after meetings with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Rogers also said that the NSA is working with European allies Germany and Britain who fear that Russian hackers are targeting their upcoming elections.
At the time, Tillerson said relations with Russian Federation needed to be rebuilt. "You are kidding. You are kidding". Since taking office, however, many top cabinet officials have voiced a tougher stance that is closer to more conventional Republican approaches and to the policies of former President Barack Obama.
In an interview last week, Trump once again refused to blame Russian Federation for attempting to influence the 2016 election through hacking and other means, despite an overwhelming consensus by United States law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The White House declined a request for confirmation.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates said Monday that she alerted the White House earlier this year that then-Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn could be "essentially blackmailed by the Russians". She says Tillerson told Lavrov that sanctions on Russian Federation over its actions in Ukraine will remain in place until Russian Federation changes course. That's the United States' internal affair.
Lavrov is a highly experienced diplomat who has served as Russian foreign minister since 2004.
The uproar seemed certain to complicate Lavrov's mission in search of USA support for a Russian plan to create safe zones in Syria.