For nearly an entire year, Democrats have cried “collusion” between President Donald Trump and Russia despite no evidence suggesting this.
And Trump pretty much ended any more fallacious claims by opening a his first face-to-face conversation with a pointed question to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I’m going to get this out of the way: Did you do this?” Trump asked, referring to the “Russian meddling” debacle.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the only high-level U.S. official in the room with Trump who had encouraged him to push Putin hard on the subject, said he was nonetheless stunned by how he started the meeting.
Tillerson did not expect such a blunt initiation of the subject.
The details of what exactly was said in the meeting has been a matter of much controversy.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s version of the encounter to reporters was that the U.S. president was much less confrontational on the issue of Moscow’s interference in the American election and in fact complained to Putin about American political rivals who exaggerated the extent of Russia’s involvement.
Lavrov told reporters that Trump then “heard firm assertions from Putin that it is not true and that Russian authorities have not meddled in the elections” and that the U.S. president “said that he accepts these assertions — that’s it.”
However, the Times reported that a senior White House official briefed on the meeting by Tillerson said Trump pressed Putin on the subject for about 40 minutes and that the exchange became heated as Putin demanding proof before Trump said it was time to move on and discuss other issues.
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