In Summary
  • Putin said he was pleased with Lavrov's visit to Washington last week but mocked the idea that Trump had shared secrets during the meeting.
  • The visit had already generated its share of scandal after Moscow released pictures of the closed-door Oval Office meeting showing Trump and Lavrov grinning after White House officials presumed they would not be made public.

SOCHI

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow could provide a recording of a controversial exchange between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US President Donald Trump that has plunged the White House into turmoil.

His comments were the first since Trump was hit with accusations that he shared secrets while meeting Lavrov in Washington, the latest crisis to hit the White house amid existing investigations into whether Trump's aides colluded with Moscow during the campaign.

Putin said he was pleased with Lavrov's visit to Washington last week but mocked the idea that Trump had shared secrets during the meeting, calling the allegations "political schizophrenia" and saying people spreading them are either "dumb" or "corrupt."

'POLITICAL SCHIZOPHRENIA'

"We can see that political schizophrenia is developing in the United States," Putin told reporters after talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

"I cannot otherwise explain the accusations of the president that he handed Lavrov some sort of secrets," Putin added.

"If the US administration finds it possible, we are ready to provide a recording of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump to the US Congress and Senate," Putin said.

Although Putin used the Russian word for audio recording at the press conference, his foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said that "audio is not made" at such meetings.

"There is a recording kept by a special person present at conversations," Ushakov clarified to Russian news agencies.

Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post reported that Trump had shared intelligence with Lavrov regarding an Islamic State group terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on airplanes.

According to sources cited in the report, that intelligence came from a US ally who had not authorised Washington to pass it on to Moscow.

'SIMPLY DUMB'

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