Putin and Trump to meet in July

A Russian photographer, who shot the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, criticised American media for its "hysteria" over the photoshoot.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the announcement after meeting with Trump in Washington Wednesday, according to Tass.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that it is "proper protocol" to close a meeting to the press when Trump is meeting a foreign official who is not a head of state.

In the termination letter to Comey, Trump thanked him for telling the president "three times" that he personally is not under investigation for collusion with Russian Federation during his 2016 campaign.

During the campaign, Sessions, who was then a USA senator, and Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page also met with Kislyak - as did Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Senator Jeff Merkley gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Thursday about President Donald Trump's firing of James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Later, however, they said that Trump had planned to fire Comey regardless.

Lavrov's meeting with Trump and Tillerson in Washington comes less than 24 hours after news of the firing of FBI Director James Comey, which ushered in a wave of criticism from Democrats and some Republicans with renewed calls for an independent investigator into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including alleged collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

"To call the times we find ourselves in right now "interesting" would be certainly an understatement", Merkley said.

Publicly, the White House put on a fearless face.

The photographer involved - Alexandr Scherbak - also took to Facebook to address what he called the "hysteria around my photoshoot", which raised hackles among U.S. media denied access to the meeting.

The meeting was Trump's highest level face-to-face contact with a Russian official since taking office and in itself represented modest progress. But of course Russian Federation did - right there on Trump's favorite news and propaganda tool, Twitter.

The New York Times called the announcement late Tuesday night that Trump would meet Lavrov "an instance of freaky timing and optics".

"Putin doesn't want to follow the lead of those who are trying to poison our relations to the point of no return", he told reporters. "It's standard practice", the official said.

Earlier Tuesday, Leahy had said he was troubled that the administration made a decision to keep former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in office for 18 days after it was told that Flynn had lied about his contact with Russian officials. His name recently surfaced in media reports about White House chief of staff Reince Priebus' possible efforts to knock down stories about Trump and Russian Federation.

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