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Trump let only Russian photographers cover his meeting with a Russian leader

11 May 2017

The director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers, was grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday about the potential risks of cyber-penetration linked to allowing a Russian camera crew into the Oval Office.

Donald Trump's administration was left red-faced Thursday after the Kremlin surprised them by releasing pictures of a closed-door meeting between the United States president and Russia's top diplomat.

This drew immediate criticism because the White House seemed to have allowed Russian state media to take photos of the meeting while excluding any American media outlets from doing the same.

There's more than a small possibility that the photographer left some form of surveillance equipment in the White House. The conversations were intercepted by USA intelligence agencies.

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The president on Tuesday abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, dramatically ousting the nation's most senior law enforcement official in the middle of the bureau's investigation into Mr Trump's ties with Russian Federation.

Earlier in the day, Lavrov held talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on a range of issues, including Ukraine, Syria, and bilateral concerns.

"Was he fired? You're kidding, you're kidding", Lavrov said sarcastically before physically scoffing at reporters.

Russia's foreign minister managed a quip about the dismissal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director before meeting high-level USA officials. Trump appeared to soften his position on Bashar Al-Assad once again.

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The official also said that the White House "did not anticipate" that the photos would ever be used by the Russians for propaganda purposes. "Neither of us brought up this bacchanalia", Lavrov said. On Wednesday, they focused on areas of budding agreement and Lavrov sought to blame the recent acrimony on former President Barack Obama. "I thought it was very, very good", Trump told reporters after the meeting.

Russian Federation has taken the lead in proposing the establishment of safe zones in parts of Syria, as a step toward ending the six-year civil war there. At the time Secretary Tillerson said Assad had "no role" in Syria's future and that "steps were underway" to oust him. But the two countries, the most powerful of the many external actors that have been drawn into the Syrian war, agree on the goal of defeating the Islamic State extremist group.

"We want to see the killing, the disgusting killing, stopped in Syria as soon as possible and everyone is working towards that end", Trump told reporters. "I think that we're going to do very well with respect to Syria", he said.

Lavrov also said that Putin and Trump, who haven't yet met in person, will see each other in July.

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