White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien says the administration is “working” on an official visit between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Trump. The meeting would come amid a highly contentious impeachment process for Mr. Trump, who is all but certain to be impeached by the House of Representatives.
“You’ll have to wait and see. But I think there’s a possibility that’ll happen. We’re working on it,” O’Brien told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan in a post-interview conversation on “Face the Nation.”
Asked what the purpose of the visit would entail, O’Brien explained it’s all about “reciprocity.”
“When [Secretary Mike] Pompeo has gone to Russia, [Vladimir] Putin’s seen him. And one of the things that we’ve said with the- with the Chinese and the Russians is- and others, is we want reciprocity. And so Putin’s met with … Pompeo. I think as a matter of reciprocity, that’s something we’re looking at. But we’re also looking at some other things. And we’ll see if we can get there,” O’Brien said.
He added that the two will have “general conversations about arms control” during the meeting. The timing of the potential meeting may raise eyebrows by critics given the status of the impeachment probe. Some Democrats, including House Intelligence chair Rep. Adam Schiff, have criticized Mr. Trump for attempting to involve Russia in domestic politics, given that the U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the hopes of boosting Mr. Trump’s campaign.
This is Lavrov’s first visit to the U.S. since 2017, when he met with Mr. Trump at the White House.
The 2017 Oval Office meeting occurred one day after the president fired then-FBI Director James Comey. It was during that meeting that U.S. photojournalists were blocked from documenting the historic encounter between Mr. Trump and the Russian official.