Tillerson is meeting with Putin at the Kremlin and ditches his press pool? That’s not good. We need a free press with access, to hold government accountable.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow on Wednesday amid heightened tensions over a U.S. airstrike last week on a Syrian air base.
The surprise sit-down comes one day after Kremlin officials said the top American diplomat would not meet with the Russian leader during his first official trip to Moscow.
The meeting is an opportunity for the leaders to confront one another over President Trump’s decision to launch a missile strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in retaliation for what the White House said was a chemical weapons attack he carried out on his own citizens.
Top U.S. officials, including Tillerson, have pressured Putin to drop his support for Assad in the aftermath of the chemical attack.
Putin has publicly raised doubts about whether Assad was responsible for the strike, which killed dozens, and even suggested the U.S. might fake a subsequent gas attack and blame it on the Syrian leader.
That prompted the White House to accuse Moscow of attempting to “cover up” Assad’s involvement in the strike in an effort to protect its main ally in the Middle East.
One White House official on Tuesday questioned how Russia would not have advance knowledge of the attack, given that their military had a presence at the base where it originated. The Kremlin has denied it knew of the strike before it happened.
Read the rest of the article on The Hill