Trump and Putin to meet in July, Russian state media says

Among those commenting on the issue was former deputy CIA Director David Cohen.

The White House was told an official Russian photographer would be present, implying the images would be for the historical record and not necessarily made public. He declined to elaborate when reached by phone.

Meeting Lavrov the next day was considered a questionable move, and it has been suggested it wasn't one the White House wanted to publicize. Later, however, they said that Trump had planned to fire Comey regardless. "That's the problem with the Russians - they lie". However, a camera-wielding member of the Russian delegation "described... as Lavrov's official photographer" was granted access to the Oval Office. The White House official insisted it is standard practice to keep more of a lid on presidential meetings with lower-level foreign officials, as opposed to visits from heads of state, which typically come with greater press coverage.

On the conflict in Ukraine, the White House said Trump had "stressed Russia's responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements". Kislyak in particular has featured in one of the new administration's most notable controversies, with national security adviser Michael Flynn forced to resign in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the ambassador a year ago. The official requested anonymity to discuss internal White House planning. "We took the information we had as best we have it and got it out to the American people as quickly as we could". Blaming "fake information,"Lavrov said: "I believe that politicians are damaging the political system of the US, trying to pretend that someone is controlling America from the outside".

Team Trump said on Wednesday that the president "had lost confidence in Comey from the day he was elected".

Trump, Lavrov, and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak, right, in the Oval Office Wednesday.

USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation tried to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. Foreign Minister Lavrov says this is Russian property that should be returned.

Lavrov later on Wednesday said it was "humiliating" for the American people to hear that Russia is controlling the political situation in the United States, adding that American politicians raising questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election is damaging the U.S. political system.

On Tuesday night, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in what sources told CNN was partly a direct response to the investigation.

Delaware's U.S. Senator Tom Carper joined Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs colleagues Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) in sending a letter to the Department of Justice Inspector General calling for an investigation into "possible political interference with the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged involvement with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election".

The overlapping events led to a series of odd scenes. As the pair posed for photographs, Lavrov sarcastically acknowledged the abrupt dismissal of Comey.

Later, the president and his advisers said Trump had planned to fire Comey since taking office. "You're kidding. You're kidding".

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