Just one day after President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey, the president met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — and the Russian foreign ministry tweeted out a picture of the meeting, without the American press present.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) May 10, 2017
The meeting was scheduled last week, but comes just one day after James Comey was let go from heading the FBI.
Comey’s termination came at a questionable time. Grand jury subpoenas of several contacts to Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser who was forced to resign in February, were set to be administered by Comey, who was heading an investigation into Russian involvement in the presidential elections last year. Many commentators view his firing with suspicion, and several lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – have called for an independent counsel to continue the investigation rather than allowing Trump to name a new FBI director to take it over.
The image being disseminated by the Russian foreign ministry is suspicious for yet another reason: no member of the American press was allowed to document the occasion.
No WH press photo op, but Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted its own pic of Trump-Lavrov greeting in the Oval Office this morning. https://t.co/BbUgdBqAyO
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 10, 2017
Before the meeting took place, Lavrov was asked by reporters if he had any comments about Comey’s firing. “Was he fired?” Lavrov responded, sarcastically.
That exchange, including restricting the press from the meeting involving Trump and Lavrov, have caused some to suggest Russia and the White House are toying with the press and the American people on this hectic news day.
This is the official feed of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
They are mocking us. https://t.co/af6MuKV3XZ
— Mo Elleithee (@MoElleithee) May 10, 2017
The press was finally allowed in the Oval Office moments later, but Donald Trump had a surprise for them: instead of Lavrov, former Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, was there, a curious guest considering the comparisons that are being made.
Pool brought into the Oval. It's Trump and … Kissinger. pic.twitter.com/1F1CPO4kQw
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 10, 2017
When members of Congress are saying what you just did is "Nixonian" and you show up the next day with a Nixon aide… https://t.co/hsKWejHVot
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 10, 2017