The decision of the White House to host Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak on the day after the termination of FBI Director James Comey ranks as one of the worst political decisions of a White House in years. Kislyak is the very Russian diplomat at the heart of the allegations of influencing peddling and collusion with Trump officials. Just as every network was exploring allegations that Comey was fired to protect Trump was an investigation into his ties with the Russians, the White House guaranteed that the Russians would be shown huddling with Trump followed by grinning photos in the Oval Office. That can be attributed to a long litany of self-inflicted wounds by this White House. However, what was more disturbing was the fact that U.S. photographers were barred from the meeting. Only the photographers from Tass were allowed. Tass is state-run agency. So not only did Trump meet with the Russians at the height of the allegations over Russian influence but the American people only saw pictures given to them by the Russians.
It also turns out that the meeting was held at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the photographer was also a request from the Russians. Sources say that White House security was not aware that the photographer worked for a Russian state-run outfit. To say the least, there was considerable surprise that a Tass photographer was allowed to photograph the Oval Office, particularly when American media was barred.
The White House continues to flounder from crisis to crisis — many of its own making. The staff appears utterly tone deaf in arranging such events or explaining to the public, as a White House spokesman stated, Trump “chose to receive him because Putin asked him to.” Now that makes it all better. The President excluded American media. He then met with Russians at the height of a scandal over Russian influence all because Putin asked him to? The nightmare images was then complete when the American people were shown pictures from the Russians as the only permitted photographers.
Lavrov then joked about the whole scandal over Russian influence. He is likely not the only one laughing this week.