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Trump says Russian Federation 'laughing up their sleeves' at turmoil

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Trump tweeted the images after the White House had been left fuming when the Russian Embassy published photos of Trump's closed-door meeting with Lavrov, as well as the Russian ambassador in Washington, Sergei Kislyak.

Trump told reporters after his meeting with Kissinger that the conversation was "about Russian Federation and various other matters". Former White House officials were alarmed at Russian photographers having full access to the US president's office, while the country's own press was kept out.

Asked whether the Russian delegation informed the White House that they planned to release the photos, one official said tersely: "No they did not".

Kislyak is a key figure in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and whether there was any collusion with Team Trump. Yet Trump's stunning decision on the eve of the meeting to fire the FBI director overseeing a Russia-related investigation injected further intrigue into Lavrov's first visit to Washington since 2013.

Trump on Thursday confirmed to NBC News that Putin asked whether he would meet with Lavrov.

The Kremlin website said Putin and Trump were "in favor of organizing a personal meeting in connection with a meeting of the G20 summit".

"Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn seeking business records, as part of the ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year's election, according to people familiar with the matter". TASS also used them in its own news reports, giving its photographer the credit line.

"We believe the U.S.is really interested in that", Lavrov said, acknowledged details of the plan still needed to be worked out.

Trump has over the course of past couple months several times expressed frustration "they can't all just make this go away".

"No", Sanders said. "I think the president wanted to give Director Comey a chance". The objective of the trip is to demonstrate how his "America first" vision isn't inconsistent with the USA ideals of democracy and freedom that allies have come to depend on. Sanders said she thought Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, was "a ideal example of what you would be looking for in terms of an independent person to come in and helm this investigation".

Officials said that Vladimir Putin had requested the meeting, a quid-pro-quo for his recent face-to-face with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow.

Nauert says the leaders also discussed the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The diplomats met Wednesday in Washington - and there's a new Russian-led agreement to create safe zones in Syria. 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.

"I hope that the folks in the Oval Office were practicing good security hygiene, and were keeping an eye on what was going on", Cohen added.

In 2014, Russian Federation annexed Ukraine's Crimea region and backed separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine, drawing condemnation in Europe and the US. "Trump has done both of these things", said Stephen Sestanovich, who was an ambassador at large for the former Soviet Union from 1997 to 2001.

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