US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called on Moscow to stop protecting Assad, and said the US wants to work with Russian Federation toward a political solution for Syria. "They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack". Russian Federation had suspended that effort after US missile strikes on a Syrian air base following an April 4 chemical weapons attack on a village in rebel territory.
Trump said Tillerson had completed a successful meeting with Putin, where "things went pretty well". Spokesman Mark Toner also ridiculed the Syrian president's comments, describing them as "vintage Assad".
The intercepts were part of an immediate review of all intelligence in the hours after the attack to confirm responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in an attack in northwestern Syria, which killed at least 70 people.
A bit later Haley called for inspectors to be given access to the base where it is believed the chemical weapons attack was launched and called for a cease-fire.
The interview on Wednesday was his first since a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun. "You have a lot of fake videos now", he said. "Were they dead at all?"
Assad said Syria's military had given up all its chemical weapons in 2013 after an agreement made at the time and that "even if we had them, we would not use them". During his 2016 campaign, Trump said he would decide whether to honor the commitment to protect the Baltic republics against Russian aggression, based on whether those countries "have fulfilled their obligations to us".
He said his forces had not been diminished by the U.S. strike. "Our firepower, our ability to attack the terrorists hasn t been affected by this strike".
Tillerson reiterated the USA belief that Assad ordered the attack, though he stepped back from the US charge that Russian Federation was covering up Assad's culpability.
It was the first direct United States military action against Assad's forces since the start of Syria's civil war six years ago and led to a quick downward spiral in ties between Washington and Moscow. The Trump administration concluded that Assad was behind the act, and on Thursday ordered a cruise missile strike against a Syrian airbase as a "proportional response". "I think it's probably unlikely", he said. Richard Lugar, who personifies the measured approach to US foreign policy, on Tuesday offered his first comprehensive critique of President Donald Trump's forays into world affairs. "Russian Federation is open to dialogues with the U.S.in different areas, and not only to dialogues but also to joint actions", he said. "At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!"
United Nations Security Council members show hands for a vote on a resolution condemning Syria's use of chemical weapons at U.N. headquarters on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.
During remarks alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Tillerson said that he and Putin "frankly discussed the current state of U.S. -Russia relations".
Tillerson said that Russian Federation could help Assad "recognize this reality".
What was most notable about the Tillerson-Lavrov press conference was how much it resembled the terse exchanges Mr. Lavrov had with Mr. Tillerson's predecessor, John Kerry.
Then, after Mr. Putin did grant him a 75-minute audience, Mr. Tillerson had to sit silently as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov used a joint press conference to deliver a prolonged lecture about what he considers the many errors of USA foreign policy, from NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia through the 2003 invasion of Iraq up to the 2011 bombing of Moammar Gadhafi's Libya.