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

U.S. President Donald Trump could meet with Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat at the White House on Wednesday a U.S. official and a person with knowledge of the plans said

The White House summoned the press pool just after 11:20 a.m. today for what some had assumed would be a spray of President Trump's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Both Trump and Lavrov appeared to strike a more conciliatory tone after both capitals had presented souring views of the relationship recently.

Comey's ouster came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Washington this week for high-level meetings, including one with Trump at the White House later on Wednesday in what will be the highest-level contact between Trump and the Russian government since he took office.

The meeting came just one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, a stunning move that followed Comey's request for more resources for the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Trump's inclusion of Kislyak in Wednesday's meeting, but to be weirdly secretive about it is to invite additional scrutiny that the White House does not need right now.

Tensions surrounding Russia's involvement in the US election remain high. They weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

The two men have a raft of important bilateral issues to discuss, ranging from the uptick in violence in Ukraine to piecemeal plans to resolve the civil war in Syria. As NPR's Domenico Montanaro reports, the firing of Comey with more than six years left on his term in office has prompted a flurry of questions about the president's motives - and about what's next.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had to recuse himself from the ongoing investigations into Russian Federation after contacts with Kislyak came to light, delivered the recommendation to Trump that Comey be relieved of his duties. On Tuesday night, he fired FBI Director James Comey, whose agency has been investigating apparent Russian contacts with the Trump presidential campaign since last July.

But in the meantime, his hopes for a possible rapprochement with Moscow, so regularly repeated during the campaign, have been derailed.

The White House said earlier in the day that Trump had fired FBI Director, James Comey. "We want to see the killing, the frightful killing, stopped in Syria as soon as possible and everyone is working toward that end", he said.

Still, Tillerson's meeting provided a blueprint for how the former Cold War foes might go about improving ties.

Relations soured further in April after the U.S. blamed Syria's president Bashar Assad, a key Russian ally, for a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians and Mr Trump fired some 60 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response. The continued fighting between rebels and Assad's military has complicated USA efforts to defeat IS. Also at issue, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed a deal on "de-escalation zones" - or safe zones for Syria civilians -at talks in Astana, Kazakhstan last week.

But Lavrov said he detected a US willingness to participate, especially with a zone being formed in Syria's south, near the border with Israel and Jordan.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's talks with Trump were already destined to be a closely watched affair, given the dire state of U.S.

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