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Trump and Lavrov meeting round-up

12 May 2017

"The Lavrov meeting was closed to the press and the only visual account we have of it thus far is via handout photos from the Russian government", The Hill's Jordan Fabian said in a pool report Wednesday, according to Talking Points Memo. It would also signal that the two countries have improved ties that Trump recently described as being at an "all-time low".

Lavrov met with Trump and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson against the backdrop of the US leader's firing of his Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, who was leading a probe into Russia's alleged meddling in last year's US election.

Critics of Comey's dismissal, however, argue that the president was really trying to clamp down on the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

Lavrov told reporters that his talks Wednesday morning with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson focused on matters of mutual concern including "deescalation zones" in Syria. White House officials have denied that's the case.

You may remember Trump was once positively gleeful about the FBI's investigation of Clinton, basking in "lock her up" chants at campaign stops across the country previous year.

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Pictured for the first time since he fired Comey, Trump stood in the White House, grinning widely, as he shook the hand of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak - the very man several of his associates have said they met with during last year's campaign.

Putin asked Trump to meet with Lavrov when the two leaders spoke by phone last week, according to a person with knowledge of the call.

When Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked how the firing might affect U.S. -Russia relations, Peskov replied, "We hope that it will not affect them at all". She says Tillerson told Lavrov that sanctions on Russian Federation over its actions in Ukraine will remain in place until Russian Federation changes course.

Anti-Russian sanctions were not among the topics discussed with Trump either, Lavrov said.

Trump has said he has no ties to Russia and isn't aware of any involvement by his aides in any Russian election interference.

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"He wasn't doing a good job", Trump said.

In 2009, under then-President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously presented Lavrov with a "reset" button to symbolically restart US-Russia relations.

USA reporters were not permitted to cover the meeting.

"You're kidding! You're kidding", he said as more questions were lobbed at him before walking away.

Lavrov notes that Trump dismisses the matter as "false news".

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