US President Donald Trump met the Russian ambassador to the US during a VIP reception during his election campaign, despite his team claiming no such meeting had taken place.
A spokesperson for Trump had previously claimed Trump had "zero" contact with the Russian ambassador, Bloomberg reported, although several members of Trump's team are believed to have spoken with Russia ahead of Trump's inauguration.
An investigation into Russian interference in the US election and the links between members of Trump's team and Russian political figures is currently underway.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is among those people, and has removed himself from investigations relating to the Trump campaign team's links to Russian officials after revelations he met twice with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak before the presidential election.
And despite Trump's spokesperson maintaining the president was not among those who met with Kislyak, adding he had zero contact with the ambassador, it has emerged Trump did meet him at a VIP reception in April 2016, during which Trump spoke about warmer relations with Russia.
However, an anonymous White House official told Bloomberg that staffers who were at the event "have no recollection of who he may have shaken hands with at the reception and we were not responsible for inviting or vetting guests. To state they met or that a meeting took place is disingenuous and absurd".
According to an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal following the VIP reception attended by both Trump and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump: "warmly greeted Mr. Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors who came to the reception."
In a statement posted on its website, the The Center for National Investment, which hosted the event, said: "The Center for the National Interest invited Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and several other ambassadors to the speech. We regularly invite ambassadors and other foreign representatives to our events to facilitate dialogue.
"Ambassador Kislyak was one of four foreign ambassadors who attended the speech that day. We seated all four in the front row during the speech in deference to their diplomatic status. The Trump campaign had nothing to do with the seating arrangement."