In an interview with Jake Tapper, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that he will pursue diplomacy in North Korea until the “first bomb drops”. MORE
“She added, “There is no denying that our leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed, due in part to the decision to slash promotion numbers by more than half. The Foreign Service officer corps at State has lost 60 percent of its Career Ambassadors since January. Ranks of Career Ministers, our three-star equivalents, are down from 33 to 19. The ranks of our two-star Minister Counselors have fallen from 431 right after Labor Day to 369 today — and are still falling.” MORE
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump accepted Putin’s assurances there was no Russian involvement in the 2016 American election. A senior Trump administration official immediately denied that Trump accepted Putin’s claim of non-interference.
The dispute only underscores the challenges that remain in the fraught relationship between the United States and Russia, whose 2016 election meddling has hung over the Trump White House for months as multiple investigations proceed in Washington.
“They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an off-camera briefing after the meeting. “The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.”
Lavrov, speaking on camera in a separate briefing, said that Trump was OK with Putin’s version of events.
Tillerson, who sat in on the discussion between the two leaders, said Trump and Putin did agree to a ceasefire in southwest Syria. The ceasefire was a “defined agreement” and could be a precursor to further cooperation in Syria.
“This is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria,” Tillerson said.