Lavrov on Comey: Was he fired? You're kidding

Trump meets with Russia's top diplomat

Trump awaits highest level face-to-face contact with Russia

The diplomats met a day after the administration fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been investigating Russia's relationship with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and numerous president's official circle.

The move provoked a storm of criticism among Democrats who said Trump was trying to blunt the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe, and some of the president's fellow Republicans also questioned the timing of the ouster.

Russian Federation and Iran are both aligned with Assad against rebel factions that want to remove Assad from office.

On Ukraine, Trump expressed his Administration's commitment to remain engaged in resolving the conflict and stressed Russia's responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.

That said, this official also admitted that the White House had thought the photographer worked only for Lavrov, not for a state-run news agency. It would also signal that the two countries have improved ties that Trump recently described as being at an "all-time low".

A photographer for a Russian state-owned news agency was allowed into the Oval Office during US President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian diplomats in a level of access that has been criticised as a potential security breach. US reporters were forced to rely on photos of those face-to-face meetings that had been tweeted by the Kremlin.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Tillerson and Lavrov agreed that the United Nations process is "central to global efforts to bring about an enduring resolution". Sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov might have expected some questions about alleged Russian interference in the USA election but he didn't seem to be expecting this one.

Putin himself laughed off a question about Comey's firing, when asked by a CBS reporter as he prepared to play a game of hockey in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

Russia's foreign minister sarcastically acknowledged the abrupt dismissal of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey by saying "Was he fired?".

"We will look at the proposal, see if it can work", Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Monday. Don't be angry with me. He spoke in Russian and his remarks were translated by his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

In a Senate hearing Monday, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said she bluntly warned Trump's White House in January that Flynn "essentially could be blackmailed" by the Russians because he apparently had lied to his bosses about his contacts with Kislyak. Those zones are envisioned under a deal struck by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

He said his committee - which has invited Mr Comey to testify at a closed session on Tuesday - had the jurisdiction and responsibility to proceed and 'we are going to do that'.

Lavrov says that's especially true regarding a zone in Syria's south, near the border with Jordan and Israel. The zones would not cover areas where the US -led coalition is fighting the Islamic State group, but enforcement and other questions remain unanswered.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has rarely visited Washington in recent years. Russian president Vladimir Putin requested during a recent phone conversation that Trump meet with Lavrov, the official said. Also attending was Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the USA who is at the center of numerous Trump administration's early Russia-related woes. The Trump campaign has been accused of colluding with Russian officials to win the 2016 election. "There is not a single fact, there is no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding Russia's intervention and that's it".

"Given the size of today's bugging technology I'm assuming they bugged the Oval Office & Trump".

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