The White House is apparently “furious” about photos from their Wednesday meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak making the rounds on social media and Russian-sponsored news outlets.
A White House official told CNN’s Jim Acosta that officials were in fact “tricked” by the Russians to allow the photo op to occur in the Oval Office, Acosta revealed on Twitter this morning.
WH furious over Russian government photos of Trump meeting with Lavrov/Kislyak. "They tricked us," an official said of Russians "They lie."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 11, 2017
The White House didn’t anticipate that the pictures would end up on the TASS website, Acosta further reported. TASS is a news service that is run by the Russian government itself.
Yet the Trump administration defended the fact that Trump met with the Russian ambassador, telling Acosta, “It is ridiculous to say that an ambassador can’t meet with the president.” Despite the presence of Russian media, no American news agency was allowed in the meeting.
The meeting itself was considered ill-timed on the part of the administration. Although it was scheduled a week beforehand, the meeting came the day after President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Many have suggested that Comey’s termination came about because his investigation of Russia’s meddling in American elections last fall was taking a direction that the Trump team didn’t like, a theory that has been confirmed to the New York Times by White House aides.
Others have suggested that the meeting between Trump and Kislyak, who has been rumored to be a spy for the Russian government, compromised the Oval Office itself, allowing Russian agents to photograph any sensitive information they could see. Colin Kahl, former National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, sent out a rhetorical tweet to his followers demonstrating his reservations.
Deadly serious Q: Was it a good idea to let a Russian gov photographer & all their equipment into the Oval Office? https://t.co/6WA4NxHxID
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) May 10, 2017