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Donald Trump news today: Democrat says Trump echoing Putin propaganda by hosting Russian envoy

Donald Trump news today: Democrat says Trump echoing Putin propaganda by hosting Russian envoy

Donald Trump news today: Democrat says Trump echoing Putin propaganda by hosting Russian envoy
AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump's decision to grant Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov an Oval Office meeting is yet another example of his abdication of his responsibilities, several Democratic politicians have told The Independent.

Mr Lavrov arrived at the White House at about 2.15pm on Tuesday afternoon, entering the West Wing after telling reporters he was there to "say good afternoon to the president". The pair met behind closed doors and Mr Lavrov left after about an hour.

The meeting is his second Oval Office audience with Mr Trump. The first took place in 2017, only a few months after Mr Trump assumed office under the cloud of a federal investigation into whether members of his 2016 presidential campaign coordinated their actions with the effort mounted by Russia's intelligence services to boost his candidacy.

Speaking at the State Department earlier, Mr Lavrov condemned what he called "speculation about our alleged interference in domestic processes in the United States" as "baseless", adding that "no one has given us this proof because it simply does not exist".

But a series of investigations by US officials have all confirmed the existence of Russia's interference campaign, which former Special Counsel Robert Mueller said was conducted "in sweeping and systematic fashion". 

In addition to the confirmation provided by Mr Mueller's investigation – which resulted in criminal indictments against 12 agents of one of Russia's intelligence agencies – separate investigations by the then-Republican-controlled House and Senate Intelligence Committees concluded that the interference took place, as well as one conducted by America's intelligence community.

Despite the wide agreement among US government officials Mr Trump has frequently denied that Russia interfered in the 2016 election on his behalf, and both he and his allies have sought to deflect blame by playing up the idea that Ukrainian officials interfered in that same election by publicly criticising Mr Trump's statements regarding Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula. 

When the two men last met in the Oval Office in May 2017, Mr Trump reportedly disclosed classified intelligence which the US had received from Israel to Mr Lavrov and Sergei Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to Washington, raising questions about whether the United States could be trusted by its intelligence partners. 

He also bragged about how his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey – who Mr Trump described as "a real nut job" – removed the "great pressure" he had faced because of the FBI's investigation into ties between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia.