Trump Bars U.S. Reporters From Meeting With Russian Officials
May 13 2017
If that wasn't weird enough, the White House barred all USA media from being present and claimed that they were only allowing Lavrov's official photographer to be present.
"When I spoke with Putin, he asked me whether or not I would see Lavrov", Trump said.
A reference made by a Russian official to the Holocaust on Thursday has been condemned by a leading US-based Jewish human rights group.
But the meeting will be impossible to separate from the Trump administration's unfolding political drama amid investigations into possible election-year collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.
The White House has said there was no risk, however, because the photographer went through a security screening, though it's unclear if that examination would catch sophisticated spying devices.
The U.S. State Department cut the brief exchange between Lavrov and the news media from the video posted on the official State Department Twitter page.
Bad optics, indeed. Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey only the day before amid an investigation into Russian meddling in the November 8 presidential election.
This was despite the fact the White House meant to not allow photographers from media companies into the Oval Office for that meeting.
A White House press release on the meeting said that Trump had "emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russian Federation", and stressed that the president had "raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere".
"Thus, the Russian foreign minister and the USA secretary of state will inform the leaders about progress reached on this track", the press service said. And not only did he have that meeting in the Oval Office, but he allowed a Russian photographer in to document that meeting. Why?
Journalists typically cover portions of meetings between the president and heads of state or government.
Saying that his work in the Oval Office lasted "for just a minute", the photojournalist said he immediately left the office and then left the White House for the Russian embassy, where Lavrov's news conference was held.
"Deadly serious Q: Was it a good idea to let a Russian gov photographer & all their equipment into the Oval Office?"
The White House did not anticipate that the Russian government would allow its state news agency to post photographs of an Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to the USA, a White House official said.
"The world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship", the U.S. secretary of state said.
Sitting in the Oval Office with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at his side, Trump gave few details about his discussion with the Russian diplomat.
The hosts also discussed news that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to resign after the White House tried to pin Donald Trump's firing of James Comey on him.
CORRECTION: The headline on this article has been updated to clarify that the reaction to outrage from the White House originated from Russian photographer Alexandr Scherbak.
Having shared his post, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova said the American media had "touched the bottom" by "bullying" their colleagues.