During an Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the White House said the president "emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia".
The chummy photos left some observers agog, particularly coming a day after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been running the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials.
U.S. President Donald Trump held a meeting on Wednesday with two Russian government representatives, just a day after he fired the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Last December "Face the Nation", moderator John Dickerson sat down with the former Secretary of State and asked him about Russian hacking during the election.
The White House closed off press access to the Oval Office meeting with Lavrov, and did not even allow photographers in.
Mr Lavrov said the pair had not discussed sanctions against Russian Federation. Both are scheduled to travel to Germany for a Group of 20 leaders' meeting. Lavrov was checking on the White House Airbnb rates and making sure accommodations were right for Mother Russia's four-year stay.
Trump said he met with Kissinger to talk "about Russian Federation and various other matters". "Very simply. He was not doing a good job". Mr. Lavrov said of the U.S.
Lavrov arrived in Washington on Tuesday. The White House has already begun its search for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director.
That meeting, held Wednesday morning, was with Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister.
Commenting on his meeting with Lavrov, Trump also said the talks had not been affected by the recent firing of FBI Director James Comey.
With a theatrical twitch of his head, the Russian diplomat then followed his American counterpart away from the media.
Lavrov met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, prior to the meeting with Trump. The US objects to Russian backing for Assad, and has supported some rebel fighting to oust him. "We had an official photographer in the room, as did they", spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday. That's the United States' internal affair.
Discussions included a Russian plan to create "safe zones" in Syria; U.S. officials say they need to work out how those zones would be patrolled and enforced. The last time Lavrov visited the American capital was before Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine and intervened militarily in Syria to help President Bashar Assad - actions that fueled U.S.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is carrying out its own probe, said he believed the action amounted to a "looming constitutional crisis".