But both Trump and a beaming Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Lavrov appeared to strike a more conciliatory tone at Wednesday's meeting. "Very simply. He was not doing a good job".
Mr. Trump said. "We're right now talking about Russian Federation and various other matters".
He and Lavrov said they discussed the civil war in Syria, where Russian Federation backs President Bashar al-Assad. "I think things are happening that are really, really, really positive".
"We are monitoring what is going on here concerning Russian Federation and its alleged "decisive role" in your domestic policy", he said, according to a quote reported in TASS, which added a remark phrased less colorfully by the embassy interpreter.
Yet Trump's stunning decision on the eve of the meeting to fire the FBI director overseeing a Russia-related investigation injected further intrigue into Lavrov's first visit to Washington since 2013. Also attending was Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the USA who is at the centre of numerous Trump administration's early Russia-related woes.
"We discussed specific issues, and we didn't even raise those absurd issues", Mr. Lavrov said of the hacking claims, which he called "fake information". The White House said the meeting had been booked for some time. 'We want to see the killing, the frightful killing, stopped in Syria as soon as possible and everyone is working toward that end, ' he said.
Jonathan Adelman, worldwide affairs professor at the University of Denver, told VOA that Russian Federation has a powerful role to play in Syria but must make some decisions about its campaign there.
After the White House meeting, Tillerson and Lavrov are expected to depart for Alaska to attend a meeting of the Arctic Council, which the United States has chaired for the past two years.
He also urged Russian Federation to implement the Minsk accord reached in 2014 in an attempt to end the fighting in Ukraine and "raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere", the statement said. "He also raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere", according to the text.
Asked if the firing would cast a shadow over his talks, Lavrov replied: "Was he fired?" "He was sacked? You are kidding!" Possible topics for Wednesday's talks included the civil wars in Syria and Ukraine, both of which Russian Federation has played a role in.
Lavrov, Russia's top diplomat, is an interesting figure in Putin's government.
As for the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov said that they will meet at the G20 summit in Hamburg, which will be held on July 7-8.
Flynn spoke with Kislyak to discuss new US sanctions against Russian Federation before Trump was inaugurated and then lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
"That's the problem with the Russians - they lie", the official added.
Lavrov again denied Wednesday that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election, and said allegations that the US government is being controlled from the outside are "noise" and a "humiliation" for the American people. "There is not a single fact, there is no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding Russia's intervention and that's it".
Lavrov then sat down with Trump himself inside the Oval Office, as the two nuclear-armed superpowers continue to sort out their unsteady relationship.
The highly unusual move raised alarm from former USA intelligence officials who believe it could have risked a security breach.
The US was not part of a deal by Damascus backers Russian Federation and Iran, and rebel supporter Turkey, signed Thursday in the Kazakh capital Astana on establishing safe zones in Syria. The U.S. only sent an envoy to the talks as an observer.
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