Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin today and according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the two spoke about Moscow’s election meddling during a face-to-face meeting.
Tillerson told reporters afterward that Trump opened the conversation by “raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
Putin denied Russian involvement, Tillerson said, but Trump “pressed” him on the matter “on more than one occasion.”
Trump and Putin agreed to explore a “framework” around which they can work to better understand these types of cyberthreats, the U.S. diplomat said.
“The two leaders agreed that this is a substantial hindrance on the ability of us to move Russian-U.S. relationships forward and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process as well as those of other countries. So more work to be done in that regard.”
Still, Tillerson acknowledged that Putin’s insistence that Russia did not interfere would leave the two countries at an impasse, at least for now.
“It’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution of that question between the two nations,” he said. “So the question is, what do we do now?”
However, Russian media is saying things went down differently. According to Russian media, Trump accepted Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russian officials didn’t interfere in last year’s presidential election, according to remarks Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made to reporters after it concluded.
Lavrov: Trump said he heard Putin's statements that Russia didn't hack election and accepts them.
— Lucian Kim (@Lucian_Kim) 07. јул 2017.
According to Lavrov, Trump told Putin some circles in America were "exaggerating" allegations of Russian interference in the US election.
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) 07. јул 2017.
BREAKING: Russian foreign minister says Trump accepted Putin's assurances that Russia didn't meddle in the U.S. election.
— The Associated Press (@AP) 07. јул 2017.
Tillerson also said that Trump and Putin had “positive chemistry” and “connected very quickly” in their first-ever face-to-face meeting. The meeting was scheduled to last for 30 minutes but went on for more than two hours, Tillerson said, because “there was just such a level of engagement and exchange that neither one of them wanted to stop.”
Listen to Tillerson discuss the exchange here:
Pres. Trump & Russia's Putin had "robust and lengthy exchange" on election interference, Tillerson says; adds that Putin denied involvement pic.twitter.com/jWeex8l1f9
— CBS News (@CBSNews) 07. јул 2017.