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After Americans who cover the White House complained, the White House said on background that only official Russian and White House photographers were included.

The White House did not anticipate that the Russian government would allow its state news agency to post photographs of an Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to the USA, a White House official said.

KELEMEN: President Trump also posed for pictures with the Russian ambassador whose many conversations with campaign officials raised red flags a year ago.

Despite the ongoing controversy, photos released by the Kremlin showed Trump, Lavrov and Kislyak with grins as they greeted each other in the Oval Office.

The United States is undoubtedly the most important player on the global stage, and whether he likes it or not, whatever Trump does is major news around the world, said Nicholas Rostow, who served as national security adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Officials said that Vladimir Putin had requested the meeting, a quid-pro-quo for his recent face-to-face with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow.

According to a report from the Washington Post, the administration was surprised to learn that the photographer wasn't just Lavrov's personal photographer but is also a journalist for Russian state media outlet Tass.

Asked if the firing would cast a shadow over his talks, Lavrov replied: "Was he fired?".

Lavrov, known for a puckish sense of humor, shot back: "Was he fired?" "You're kidding! You're kidding!"

Reacting to "Mildly Nauseous" Comment But for weeks, the Russian Federation investigation has not appeared to be going away.

In Washington, Tillerson made no comment on the Comey firing or on the substantive issues he would discuss with Lavrov. Lavrov last visited Washington in 2013. Fourth from right is Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak.

In his earlier meeting with Lavrov, Tillerson emphasized the US wouldn't lift sanctions on Russian Federation related to Ukraine until Russian Federation reverses the actions that triggered the punishment - namely, its Crimea annexation.

Putin said Trump "is acting in accordance with his competence".

Putin then begged off to go play in a gala hockey event he founded called the Legends of Hockey.

A Russian plan to stabilise Syria after more than six years of civil war was the most urgent foreign policy topic on the Trump-Lavrov agenda. "I said, 'If it's possible would you let me know, am I under investigation?' He said, 'You are not under investigation'". During that trip, Tillerson said relations with Russian Federation were at a low and needed to be rebuilt.

"I believe that politicians are damaging the political system of the US, trying to pretend that someone is controlling America from the outside". Because I know the Federal Bureau of Investigation is made up of people who will do their job.

A longtime friend who talked to the President over the weekend described him as "white hot", a mood that set the table for Comey's firing. And his decision to fire the man leading a probe into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation unsurprisingly raised people's suspicions.

Mr Trump said: 'We had a very, very good meeting with Mr. Lavrov. He said the conflict in Syria should focus on a mediated solution, instead of the ousting of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He said the two countries had a "common understanding" regarding the usefulness of de-escalation zones. Russia wants the United States to support a proposed cease-fire in Syria that was reached by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

"We will look at the proposal, see if it can work", Pentagon chief James Mattis said Monday. "Why don't we try to learn from our mistakes?" This investigation is just the beginning of holding the Trump administration responsible for their disastrous, corrupt, and unsafe domestic agenda.

For weeks, President Donald Trump had been seething.

Maxim Trudolyubov, a Russian political analyst and a senior fellow with the Kennan Institute, wrote on its blog that "politicians of all colors will only increase their scrutiny of the Russia probe".

Moscow has denied interference in the election, and the Trump administration denies allegations of collusion with Russian Federation.

Before Comey was sacked, United States federal prosecutors had issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn as part of the FBI's ongoing investigation of Russia's alleged interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

It was Kislyak who met with former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, meetings that Flynn later lied about, which led to his resignation under pressure in February.

"I never thought of it". Adding insult to injury, the White House didn't allow any US press to be present.

On Thursday, Trump said he would have taken the action regardless.