U.S. President Donald Trump confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about Moscow's election meddling during a face-to-face meeting in Germany on Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, according to The Hill.
Tillerson, who was present for the meeting, the first between the two leaders, later told reporters that Trump opened the conversation by “raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
Putin denied Russian involvement, Tillerson said, but Trump “pressed” him on the matter “on more than one occasion.”
Trump and Putin agreed to explore a “framework” around which they can work to better understand these types of cyberthreats, continued the Secretary of State.
“The two leaders agreed that this is a substantial hindrance on the ability of us to move Russian-U.S. relationships forward and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process as well as those of other countries. So more work to be done in that regard,” he said, according to The Hill.
Tillerson acknowledged, however, that Putin’s insistence that Russia did not interfere would leave the two countries at an impasse, at least for now.
“It's not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution of that question between the two nations,” he said. “So the question is, what do we do now?”
Trump initially rejected the CIA’s assessment that Russia carried out cyberattacks during the election campaign in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton's candidacy, insisting that Democrats bitter with the results of the election were inventing excuses for their defeat.
He later accepted the intelligence assessment but has rejected any involvement in the Russian hacking.
During their meeting on Friday Trump and Putin also discussed the ongoing wars in Syria and Ukraine, two global hotspots that have pitted Washington against Moscow.
After the meeting, the two countries announced they had agreed to a ceasefire in the southwest corner of the country.
“I think this is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria, and as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and the violence,” Tillerson said. “Once we defeat ISIS, we will work together toward a political process that will secure the future of the Syrian people.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)