World Europe 18 May 2017 Vladimir Putin rushe ...

Vladimir Putin rushes to Donald Trump’s aid

AFP | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published May 18, 2017, 12:45 am IST
Updated May 18, 2017, 12:45 am IST
Vladimir Putin
 Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that said 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 Mr Trump was hit with accusations that he shared secrets while meeting Mr Lavrov in Washington, the latest crisis to hit the White house amid existing investigations into whether Mr Trump’s aides colluded with Moscow during the campaign.

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

“We can see that political schizophrenia is developing in the United States,” Mr 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,” he added.

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

Although the Russian President 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,” Mr Ushakov clarified to Russian news agencies.

Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post had reported that Mr Trump had shared intelligence with Mr 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.

The fresh US crisis sank the dollar early on Wednesday as well as Hong Kong stocks amid worries Mr Trump’s economy-boosting and tax-cutting agenda could be derailed.    

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