Russia and the United States declared the first meeting of President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin. But hours later they both sat down at the G-20 summit in Germany, the White House was trying to suppress criticism. Trump was too soft for Putin, while the Kremlin seemed to come from his administration to shape how the match unfolds.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in the room with the two presidents, said that Trump has “squeezed” Putin over Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections. Almost at the same time, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also participated in the talks, a separate press conference that Trump had informed Putin that he “accepts” Russia’s denials that he was behind the interference of elections.
“The president said that he had heard the clear statements by President Putin that it was not true and that the Russian authorities had not stopped these elections and declared that he accepted these statements, and this is really,” Lavrov said.
This seems to contradict the Tillerson account, but the US Secretary of State also suggested that Trump Putin had said he wanted to pass accusations of interference, he said, was becoming an obstacle to better relations.
“The two presidents that I focus on are:” How do we move forward? “Because it is not clear to me that we are going to reach a settlement agreement on this issue between the two nations,” Tillerson said.
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Tillerson added that the conversation of more than two hours had revealed “a clear positive chemistry” among the presidents. “Neither of us wanted to stop,” he said.
Taken together, however, Lavrov’s comments and Tillerson caused a protest from some that Trump was actually telling Putin that he had abandoned the issue, despite US intelligence assessments that Moscow had triggered an unprecedented operation Against elections involving cyber attacks and propaganda that many officials could be repeated.
“For Secretary Tillerson said that this problem is not solved, it’s a shame,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“Working to compromise the integrity of our electoral process can not and should not be an area where we” agree to disagree “is an acceptable conclusion. Congress and Americans of all trends and political parties must do As much as possible to increase sanctions against Russia and avoid reducing sanctions by the executive, “he added.
Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Moscow under the Obama administration, wrote in a tweet that “agreement not to agree on the facts of the violation of our sovereignty in Russia is weak.”
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan was revealed less gradually by comments, saying he was not surprised that Putin denied that Russia had interfered in the election.
“It’s no surprise to me that Vladimir Poutine gives up what we know they did,” Ryan Associated Press said.
The controversy has recalled Trump’s latest meeting with senior Russian officials. During his May meeting at the Oval Office with Lavrov, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump was accidentally disclosed classified information to Lavrov.