Controversial Oval Office meeting was held at Putin's request

Brennan reported that Mr. Trump said Tuesday's firing of FBI Director James Comey had no influence on the meeting and the fact the president made the invitation despite the controversy shows how deeply he wants to improve frayed relations with Russian Federation.

And then it was a little more controversial because the entire meeting happened at Vladimir Putin's request, and Trump didn't feel as if he could say no.

The issue is particularly sensitive because of the presence at the meeting of Kislyak, who has been at the center of several controversies involving administration officials, including now fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Press secretary Sean Spicer comically ducked behind shrubbery on the White House grounds, hiding from television cameras, to give reporters a confused and disjointed account of the dismissal.

But when the images were published across the world via state media, the White House raged that Moscow had misled them.

United States press photographers were not invited to the meeting, there had been no plans to immediately release images, and in an official White House account of the meeting, the presence of ambassador Kislyak was not mentioned.

President Trump jabbed back at Russian Federation on Thursday, tweeting out photos that show him standing next to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office - and also seated next to rival Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine.

"We know that drugs and crime go hand-in-hand", Sessions said in a Friday speech.

"What are we supposed to do?" the official asked. With Russian there's one problem: "they were lying", he said, not hiding my anger. "Not meet with the Russians?"

Trump said "when I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said "you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won". "Now what do I ... should I say no I'm not gonna see him?"

The Lavrov meeting came just hours after Mr Trump fired his Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, the man responsible for investigating allegations of collusion between the Republican leader's team and Russian Federation.

"I never thought about it", he said.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman with Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted Thursday: "The format did not imply that the photos were being kept secret". "I want to see to what extent he has foreign financial dealings".

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