In what can only be described as an act of trolling on President Donald Trump’s part following his firing of James Comey, he had a friendly meeting with Russian foreign minister and ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Lavrov at the White House. The meeting came as Trump faces charges from his critics that he only fired Comey because the FBI was currently investigating alleged Trump/Russia ties (of which they’ve found zero evidence, by the way).
Only a photographer from Russia’s state news agency (Tass) was allowed to be present at the meeting, and hence the only way we know about the meeting is thanks to his photos.
Lavrov also met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday morning. Due to the timing of the meeting with Trump the following day, Lavrov himself was asked by a reporter as he entered the State Department building whether or not Comey’s firing ““cast a shadow” over his meetings.
Lavrov responded sarcastically. “Was he fired”? he asked. “You are kidding. You are kidding.”
As the Washington Post reported, after the news conference, Trump met face-to-face with Lavrov. The Russian Foreign Ministry was quick to capitalize on the moment, tweeting one of the first photos of the two men shaking hands.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) May 10, 2017
Also in attendance was Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Kislyak’s presence was surprising — he’s a key figure in the investigation of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.
Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired after it came out that he’d met with Kislyak on several occasions but hadn’t disclosed the meetings. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also recused himself from anything related to the Russia investigation after it emerged that he, as a U.S. senator, had met twice with Kislyak in July and September, interactions he did not disclose when questioned at his Senate confirmation hearing this year for the attorney general position.
Trump described Wednesday’s meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak as “very, very good,” observing that both the United States and Russia want to stop “the horrible, horrible killing in Syria as soon as possible.”
As the meeting concluded, the wire service Getty released photos credited to Tass showing all three men standing together in a chummy moment.
Photos of Trump's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak just hit the Getty wire and they're all credited to Russian news agency TASS pic.twitter.com/qE9lWB6KuS
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) May 10, 2017
Given that the U.S. press was prevented from attending the meeting, it appears one of the many purposes this meeting served was to further aggravate a media obsessed with Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Epic troll!