Russian government releases photos of Oval Office meeting

The timing of Comey's firing has led many to suggest that the agency's investigation into the Trump team's ties with Russian officials was behind the dismissal - something the White House rejects.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrive for a media availability at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The pool was ushered into the Oval Office at 11:26 a.m., where instead Lavrov, President Trump was seated beside former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "I never thought that I would have to answer such questions, particularly being in the US taking into account your highly developed democratic political system".

According to the State Department, they will discuss ongoing conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

They weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

Kislyak has been described by the American intelligence community as both a spy and a recruiter of foreign agents, although Russian officials deny that this is the case.

A Russian plan to stabilize Syria after more than six years of civil war is the most urgent foreign policy topic on the agenda.

Lavrov's trip was preceded by Trump's surprise dismissal of Comey, who was overseeing two important investigations that shaped Trump's a year ago victory against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump said he was meeting with Kissinger to talk "about Russian Federation and various other matters".

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Still, he said the dialogues were free of the ideology that hampered US-Russia ties under Barack Obama, Trump's predecessor. Sessions had been asked directly during his confirmation if he'd had contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign and he had said no.

Lavrov is the highest Russian official to meet with Trump since his presidency.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf) says Russia wants the play an active role in helping secure four de-escalation zones in Syria.

Lavrov was also again asked about the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, this time whether his meeting with Trump came as a outcome of the agency chief's departure.

Lavrov, who started off a news conference at the Russian Embassy by remarking that "relations between our countries. are not in the best condition", also fielded several questions about Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 race to obvious irritation. The zones would not cover areas where the US -led coalition is fighting the Islamic State group, but enforcement and other questions remain unanswered.

Lavrov threw his head back in a dismissive gesture and walked away, shaking his head.

In one of the photos, Trump is gesturing to the ambassador while making a remark to Lavrov.

  • Megan Austin