Monday , June 18 2018

Putin offers record to US of disputed Trump-Lavrov talks


Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to give a transcript of White House talks between his foreign minister and Donald Trump to Congress to prove that the US president didn’t give away secrets.
“We’re ready to provide a record of Lavrov’s discussions with Trump” to U.S. legislators to prove that no secrets were disclosed, “if the American administration would like that, of course,” Putin told reporters on Wednesday in Sochi at talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hasn’t “shared any secrets with me or with representatives of Russian special services” following last week’s meeting in the Oval Office, Putin said with a smile.
Putin called the controversy a sign of “political schizophrenia” in the US and said it was intended to incite “anti-Russian sentiment.” Those using anti-Russian slogans to destabilize the US political situation “either don’t understand that they are harming their own country, which means they are just dumb, or they understand everything and then they are dangerous and unscrupulous people,” he said.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Trump defended sharing information about IS threats to airline safety with Russian officials at the meeting, saying he had an “absolute right” to do so. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the president’s disclosures, first reported by the Washington Post, were “ wholly appropriate.” The Post reported that U.S. officials were concerned that Trump had disclosed highly classified information from an ally that could be enough to enable the Russians to identify the source. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the information came from Israel. Top lawmakers of both U.S. parties have said the issue raises new questions about the administration, which is already under scrutiny over Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey the day before the meeting with Lavrov. The FBI is investigating possible collusion by Trump associates in Russian interference with the U.S. election.

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