Tillerson, Russian foreign minister meet in Manila: Interfax

Keren Carrion

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Sunday with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, for the first time since President Trump signed legislation imposing sanctions on Moscow, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Tillerson wanted details on the Russian response to the sanctions bill, Interfax reported.

Tillerson, Lavrov and other diplomats are meeting in Manila for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum.

{mosads}Trump last Wednesday signed legislation that imposes sanctions on Moscow and limits his ability to lift penalties, but he also lashed out at Congress, which overwhelmingly approved the measure.

“By limiting the executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together,” Trump said.

Trump also called the bill “seriously flawed.”

“The framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the president,” he added. “This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”

Trump one day later blamed Congress for the strained relationship with Moscow.

“Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!” he tweeted on Thursday.

The White House had signaled the administration preferred a watered-down version of the sanctions bill.

The developments come amid the widening investigations into whether the president’s associates colluded with Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The White House said late Saturday that it appreciated Russia’s cooperation in securing passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution that increases sanctions on North Korea in response to recent missile tests.

“The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!” Trump tweeted.

–This report was updated at 7:39 a.m.

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