Russian government releases photos of Oval Office meeting

Miranda GreerMay 11, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, responding Wednesday to shouted questions from reporters at the State Department concerning the firing of FBI Director James Comey, said sardonically: "Was he fired?"

Trump repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that he would seek closer ties with Russian Federation.

Comey, in his role as FBI director, had been conducting an investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. As NPR's Domenico Montanaro reports, the firing of Comey with more than six years left on his term in office has prompted a flurry of questions about the president's motives - and about what's next.

'We had a very, very good meeting with Mr. Lavrov, ' Trump told reporters after the talks.

As the two men then turned to leave, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News shouted out: "Does the Comey firing cast a shadow over your talks, gentlemen?"

President Donald Trump "emphasized his desire" to improve ties with Russian Federation during a meeting Wednesday with that country's foreign minister, according to the White House.

Trump fired Comey on Tuesday on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A USA official and a person knowledgeable of the plans are describing what would be the highest level, face-to-face contact with Russian Federation of Trump's presidency.

Relations only worsened in the weeks following Trump's decision last month to bomb the Syrian airfield where the Bashar Assad regime - a key ally of Russian Federation - reportedly carried out a chemical attack on its own people.

Tillerson's meeting with Lavrov is the second since Tillerson has been in office. "We're going to stop the killing and the death [in Syria]".

Tensions in the relationship grew following US air strikes against a Syrian airfield in April in response to a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on Assad.

Mr Lavrov will be coming to the American capital with a Russian plan to end the violence in Syria, after hashing out an agreement with Iran and Turkey last week. Instead, they apparently focused on issues like ISIS and the ongoing war in Syria.

It is too early to draw conclusions of a possible thaw in Russian-US relations but the fact that dialogue is being conducted is positive in itself, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

Despite the lack of clarity, the meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Lavrov in itself was a sign of some progress.

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