Trump meets Russia foreign minister amid Comey controversy

"We hope it will not affect them at all", he answered.

The White House says Trump emphasized his desire for better relations with Russian Federation.

"For this Russian de-escalation scheme to work, the Russians have to understand clearly that the US will react in ways similar to the strike in April, if the regime, and for that matter the Russians, resume their mass violence campaign", Hof said. Bussey said it was "unfortunate" to have Russian officials at the White House the next day and for the administration not to immediately speak publicly about the firing.

Kislyak has figured prominently in a series of damaging stories for the administration.

Less than a month into Trump's presidency, he fired his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, saying Flynn misled senior administration officials about his pre-inauguration talks with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador in Washington.

The administration official said that "it is standard practice for ambassadors to accompany their principals, and it is ridiculous to suggest there was anything improper".

The U.S. has reacted cautiously to the Russia-led agreement on safe zones.

Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted a mocking "correction" of the State Department's press release on Wednesday's meetings.

The White House says President Donald Trump stressed several issues in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf), including ending the civil war in Syria and improving U.S. -Russia relations. Russia wants the United States to support a proposed cease-fire in Syria that was reached by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

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Speaking at a news conference in the Russian embassy in Washington, Lavrov said that his talks with US officials had not covered the USA sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict.

Lavrov frequently disparaged the suspicions of Russian election intrusion, which USA intelligence agencies have all pinned on Moscow.

"If we manage to find.a common position with the United States on this issue, it will be the most important result", he said, quoted by the state news agency Interfax. The FBI has been conducting an investigation into alleged ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

When the White House summoned the press pool on Wednesday reporters were expecting to see President Trump sitting beside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, instead they saw a different yet very familiar face - Henry Kissinger.

Lavrov stopped, turned around, and asked, "Was he fired? You are kidding. You are kidding".

Lavrov then jerked his head back in a dismissive gesture and walked away, shaking his head. -Russian relations in the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

"A Comical Firing" was the headline on a the Comey story on Russia's pro-Kremlin NTV news channel.

Clinton herself also pointed to Comey, specifically his October 28 letter informing Congress that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was reopening a probe into her use of a private email server to send classified information.

The two are expected to address the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and likely the story seizing Washington right now - Comey's dismissal.

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