Donald Trump held closed-door meetings with the Russian Foreign Minister on Tuesday in the Oval Office. While it was the Russian official's second, the President of Ukraine is still waiting for his first meeting with the US President. Donald Trump sat down with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the time when the threats of impeachment loomed over the US President. The meeting was held in the White House, hours after the House Democrats announced the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump over his dealings with Ukraine, a US ally that is battling against Russian aggression.
Democrats on Tuesday revealed that they are probing two articles of impeachment and charging the US President with --abuse of power and obstruction of US Congress. The crux of the impeachment inquiry is to determine whether Donald Trump withheld military aid and a White House meeting with the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, as leverage to investigate his political opponent and Democrat Joe Biden.
Donald Trump is often arraigned for being too soft on Moscow, despite the purported Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections. Trump insists he needs to engage with Moscow. The meeting between Donald Trump and the Russian Foreign Minister comes merely a day after the Justice Department's watchdog said the FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. Donald Trump has often labeled and belittled the probe as a mere "witch hunt," also claiming that the FBI should never have started it in the first place. Post the meeting, the White House in a statement said that Donald Trump warned against any attempts of Russian interference in the 2020 US elections. The statement further claimed that Trump urged Russia to resolve its conflict with Ukraine.
The last time Donald Trump met the Russian Foreign Minister in the White House in 2017, he divulged the classified details of a top-secret Israeli intel operation involving a spy within the Islamic State in Syria. Russia an ally of Iran in Syria, is Israel's adversary. The first meeting between Trump and the Russian official was held when the US President had fired FBI chief James Comey for persisting a probe against the Russian collusion.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, who took over the Trump-Russia investigation from the FBI, determined that Russia interfered in the election in an effort to help Trump beat his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The investigation produced charges against nearly three dozen people, among them senior Trump campaign operatives and 25 Russians, as it shed light on a brazen Russian assault on the US political system.
Amid the political churning in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. He joked that Russia is planning to meddle in the US elections in 2020 but 'it is a secret.' Putin was asked about concerns Russia might interfere in the 2020 US elections, he replied: "I'll tell you a secret: Yes, we'll definitely do it," Putin said. "Just don't tell anyone," he added.
Trump managed to jest about the contentious presidential elections of 2016 during his bilateral meet with Russia President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Japan late June this year. The US President during a media interaction, with a smile on his face, asked the Russian President to not meddle in the US Presidential elections of 2020 and made a finger gesture. "Don't meddle in the election, please," said the US President, drawing a smile and silence from the Russian President.
(With AP inputs)