Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, pool)

VLADIMIR Putin has said that
U.S. President Donald Trump had
not divulged any secrets during
a meeting in Washington with
Russian officials and offered to
prove it by supplying Congress
with a transcript.
But a leading U.S. Republican
politician said he would have
little faith in any notes Putin
might supply.
Two U.S. officials said on
Monday Trump had disclosed
classified information about a
planned Islamic State operation
to Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov when they met last
week, plunging the White House
into a fresh controversy just four
months into Trump’s tenure.
Trump, whose administration
has been dogged by allegations
that Russia helped him win the
White House and that he and his
allies are too cozy with Moscow,
has defended his decision to
discuss intelligence with the
Russians after media reports of
the meeting alarmed some U.S.
and foreign politicians.
President Putin deployed
his trademark sarcasm on
Wednesday to make clear he
thought the accusation that
Trump had divulged secrets
absurd.
“I spoke to him (Lavrov) today,”
a smiling Putin told a news
conference with Italian Prime
Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the
Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
“I’ll be forced to issue him
(Lavrov) with a reprimand
because he did not share these
secrets with us. Not with me, nor
with representatives of Russia’s
intelligence services. It was very
bad of him.”
Putin, who still hopes Moscow
can repair battered ties with
the United States despite a
deepening political scandal
in the United States related to
Trump’s purported Russia ties, said Moscow had rated Lavrov’s
meeting with Trump highly.
If the Trump administration
deemed it appropriate, Putin said
Russia could hand over a transcript
of Trump’s meeting with Lavrov to
U.S. lawmakers to reassure them
that no secrets were revealed.
A Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov,
later told reporters that Moscow
had a written record of the
conversation, not an audio
recording.
U.S. Republican Senator Marco
Rubio was unimpressed with
Putin’s offer and alluded to alleged
Russian hacking of Democratic
groups during the U.S. presidential
election.
“I wouldn’t put much credibility
into whatever Putin’s notes are,”
Rubio said on Fox News. “And if it
comes in an email, I wouldn’t click
on the attachment.”
Representative Adam Schiff,
the top Democrat on the House
Intelligence Committee, which is among those probing alleged
Russian interference in the 2016
U.S. election, called Putin’s offer
“quite amusing.”
“The last person Trump needs
to vouch for him right now is
Vladimir Putin,” Schiff said in
an interview with CBS News. “If
they want to send something, you
know, hats off. Send it our way…
It’s credibility would be less than
zero.”
Russia has repeatedly denied
interfering in the U.S. election.
Trump is also under pressure
over accusations he asked then-
FBI Director James Comey to end
the agency’s investigation into the
Russia ties of former White House
national security adviser Michael
Flynn.
The allegation stems from a
memo written by Comey and
seen by a source familiar with the
contents of the memo.
In Washington, Republican
and Democratic lawmakers said
they wanted to see the Comey
memo. U.S. Representative Adam
Kinzinger joined a small but
growing number of Republican
lawmakers who have said
they would back some sort of
independent investigation into
Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
“If in fact what was in the memo
is true, it’s very concerning and we
need to get to the
bottom of that,”
Kinzinger said
on CNN.
Complaining
about what
he said was
“ p o l i t i c a l
schizophrenia”
in the United
States, Putin said
Trump was not
being allowed
to do his job
properly.
“It’s hard to
imagine what
else these people
who generate
such nonsense and rubbish can
dream up next,” said Putin,
referring to unnamed U.S.
politicians.
“What surprises me is that
they are shaking up the domestic
political situation using anti-
Russian slogans. Either they don’t
understand the damage they’re
doing to their own country, in
which case they are simply stupid,
or they understand everything, in
which case they are dangerous
and corrupt.”
Russia has repeatedly said that
Trump’s opponents are trying
to damage him and Moscow by
making what it says are false
accusations about the billionaire
president and the Russian
government which initially had
high hopes of a rapprochement.
Officials have told Reuters
Trump’s alleged disclosure of
classified information to Russia’s
foreign minister is unlikely to stop
allies who share intelligence with
Washington from cooperating.
That view was reinforced on
Wednesday when British Prime
Minister Theresa May said her
government had confidence in
its relationship with the United
States and would continue to
share intelligence with Britain’s
most important defense and
security ally.

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