Both Russia and the United States declared Friday’s first meeting between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin a success. But hours after the two sat down at the G20 Summit in Germany, the White House has found itself fending off criticism Trump had been too soft on Putin, as the Kremlin seemed to outflank his administration in shaping how the encounter is being presented.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in the room with the two presidents, said that Trump had “pressed” Putin on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Almost simultaneously, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who had also been present at the talks, told a separate news conference that Trump had informed Putin he “accepts” Russia’s denials that it was behind the election meddling.
“The president said that he had heard the clear statements of President Putin that it isn’t true, and that the Russian leadership had not interfered in these elections, and he said that he accepts these statements. And that’s it really,” Lavrov said.
That appears to be at odds with Tillerson’s account, but the U.S. secretary of state also suggested that Trump had indicated to Putin that he wished to move on from the accusations of interference, which he said had become a hindrance to better relations.
“The two presidents I think rightly focused on is, ‘how do we move forward?’ Because it’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed upon resolution of that question between the two nations,” Tillerson said.
Yeah, cause there’s no such thing as evidence, and what’s the big deal anyway if someone else is screwing with our election system, amirite?
Tillerson added that the over two-hour conversation had revealed “very clear positive chemistry” between the presidents. “Neither one of them wanted to stop,” he said.
Was he talking about the meeting, or did Rex just watch a rerun of and episode of The Bachelor?
Taken together, however, Lavrov and Tillerson’s comments have prompted an outcry from some that Trump had effectively signaled to Putin he was dropping the issue, despite assessments from U.S. intelligence that Moscow had unleashed an unprecedented operation against the election involving cyberattacks and propaganda which many officials suggest could be repeated.
“For Secretary Tillerson to say that this issue will remain unresolved is disgraceful,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“Working to compromise the integrity of our election process cannot and should not be an area where ‘agree to disagree’ is an acceptable conclusion. Congress and Americans of all political persuasions and parties should do all they can to increase sanctions on Russia and prevent the reduction of any sanctions by the executive branch,” he added.
Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Moscow under the Obama administration, wrote in a tweet that: “Agreeing to disagree on the FACTS of Russian violation of our sovereignty is weak.”
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, was less phased by the comments, saying he wasn’t surprised Putin had denied Russia had interfered in the election.
“It comes as no surprise to me Vladimir Putin would deny what we know they did,” Ryan told the Associated Press.
So it’s perfectly okay for the supposed leader of our country to just say C’est la vie (if he spoke a foreign language, which in Twitler’s case includes English) and move on, right, Eddie Munst…I mean, Paul Ryan, you ball-less piece of shit?
Just a couple of question, kids. To we call them Putler now that they have so much chemistry? Vladinald? Which one gave the rose and which one accepted it? Why do Putin and Twitler sit like they are on the crapper? I kept waiting for them to pass toilet paper to each other.