“We have to remember Putin’s background. He’s a KGB officer. That’s what they do. They recruit assets, and I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin is coming to play here in his managing a pretty important account for him, if I could use that term, with our president.” MORE
“Russian accounts bought thousands of social media ads on hot-button U.S. issues ranging from Black Lives Matter to illegal immigration, according to a batch of the ads released Wednesday by members of the House intelligence panel.” 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.
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