Russian President Putin Claims Trump Did Not Reveal Secrets To Officials

May 17, 2017
Originally published on May 17, 2017 8:31 pm
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has added a new twist to the political crisis in Washington. He said President Trump did not reveal any secrets to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during the visit to the White House last week. And to prove it, the Russian leader offered to provide Congress with the Kremlin's record of the meeting. NPR's Lucian Kim reports from Moscow.

LUCIAN KIM, BYLINE: President Putin was actually hosting the Italian prime minister at his seaside residence in southern Russia, but an Italian journalist couldn't help asking what Lavrov had said about his recent visit with President Trump. Putin responded with sarcasm.

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PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Speaking Russian).

KIM: "I talked to Lavrov today," Putin said, "and he didn't share any secrets, not with me and not with our intelligence services."

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PUTIN: (Speaking Russian).

KIM: "That was very bad him," Putin said. Joking aside, he didn't hide his anger over the latest round of U.S. media reports that accuse Russia of double-dealing. In fact, Trump had passed no secrets to Lavrov, Putin said, and he was ready to present Congress with a record of the meeting if the White House wanted him to. Putin said, quote, "political schizophrenia is on the rise in the United States" and that the people who are whipping up anti-Russian sentiment are either stupid or dangerous.

Frustration is growing in Moscow that relations between the U.S. and Russia have still not improved despite Trump's pledges to work together with Putin. No date for a first meeting between the two leaders has been set even though Russian officials keep dropping hints they'd like it to happen in July during a summit of the group of 20 major economies in Germany. From the Kremlin's point of view, it's not Trump's fault but the work of his domestic political opponents.

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MARIA ZAKHAROVA: (Speaking Russian).

KIM: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a Russian radio station that reports of Trump sharing secrets with Lavrov are part of a disinformation campaign against the U.S. president. "It started before the election," she said, "and still hasn't stopped."

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DMITRY PESKOV: (Speaking Russian).

KIM: Speaking to reporters yesterday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, "the American newspaper stories were nonsense that we don't want to have anything to do with." Putin echoed that sentiment today.

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PUTIN: (Speaking Russian).

KIM: "At first it was funny to watch the political struggle in Washington," Putin he said. "Now it's not only sad but cause for concern." Asked how you he assess the U.S. president's performance, Putin said only the American people can do that, but first Trump should be given a chance to do his job. Lucian Kim, NPR News, Moscow.

(SOUNDBITE OF OH NO SONG, "BOUNCERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.