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Donald Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak at the White House less than a day after the firing of F.B.I. Director James Comey, who was leading the investigation of Russia’s contact with Trump’s campaign during the election.
As Lavrov was entering the Oval Office with Rex Tillerson Wednesday morning, a reporter asked if Comey’s dismissal “cast a shadow” over today’s meetings. Lavrov responded in a joking manner.
“Was he fired?” he sarcastically asked. “You are kidding. You are kidding.”
Trump described his meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak as “very, very good” and claimed that he and the Russian officials want to stop “the horrible, horrible killing in Syria as soon as possible.”
Kislyak’s presence was deemed shocking, as he plays a key role in the investigation of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been fired because he never disclosed his meetings with Kislyak, while Attorney Jeff Sessions recused himself due to never revealing that he interactions with Kislyak as well.
Lavrov recapped his meeting with Trump to TASS, the Russian state-owned news agency, saying “we discussed, first and foremost, our cooperation on the international stage.”
“At present, our dialogue is not as politicized as it used to be during Obama’s presidency,” Lavrov said. “The Trump administration, including the president himself and the secretary of state, are people of action who are willing to negotiate.”
During the meeting, U.S. press was prohibited from entering the Oval Office meeting. However, a photographer from TASS was allowed to capture snapshots of Trump with the Russian officials. Images of the meeting began surfacing online, sparking the interests of many on the issue.
The Russian Foreign Ministry even shared one of the photographs on Twitter.
— MFA Russia ?? (@mfa_russia) May 10, 2017
“Apparently the TASS person was admitted at the request of the Russian Foreign Ministry as the official photographer for the Russian side,” Andrei Sitov, TASS Washington bureau chief said. “He is permanently assigned to cover FM Lavrov. His pictures from the meeting are available at the Russian FM’s Flickr. I was not even aware of this.”
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons