Thursday, May 11, 2017

Russia’s Top Diplomat Enjoyed His Oval Office Visit, and Has the Photographs to Prove It
"RUSSIAN OFFICIALS, AT LEAST, seem to be enjoying the turmoil that’s engulfed Washington since last night, when President Donald Trump abruptly fired F.B.I. Director James Comey, to derail his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The first hint of that came when the country’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, arrived at the State Department on Wednesday and immediately joked about Comey’s firing. Lavrov turned comic after his host, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, uttered a few words of welcome. As the two men then turned to leave, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News shouted out: “Does the Comey firing cast a shadow over your talks, gentlemen?” While Tillerson ignored the question and started to walk away, Lavrov widened his eyes in mock surprise and asked, “Was he fired?” Informed that Comey was indeed fired, the foreign minister pretended to be shocked, shocked, saying, “You’re kidding! You’re kidding!” He then dismissively shook his head and walked off. Just in case anyone missed Lavrov trolling the American reporter — the same one he scolded last month in Moscow — the Russian foreign ministry then posted the video on Twitter, along with a transcription of the boss’s gag. The trolling only seemed to increase later in the day, when the foreign ministry released images of Lavrov, and Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, bantering with Trump in the Oval Office. Since the White House had barred American journalists from reporting on Trump’s meeting with the diplomats, the only available images were those released by the Russian government, taken by its state-owned news agency, Tass. The Russian embassy in Washington also made sure to draw attention to a photograph of Trump grinning as he shook hands with Kislyak — the same Russian ambassador he fired his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for talking to about U.S. sanctions related to Russian efforts to get him elected president."