Trump hosts Russians, Kissinger at White House day after Comey firing
10:26, May 12, 2017
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He portrayed the Kremlin and the Trump administration as working together to clear up the mess left behind, a reference in part to the continuing U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation for its intervention in Ukraine and its role in the USA presidential election.
Rather than avoiding the topic, Trump appeared to embrace a set of images that put him smack in the middle of the Russian Federation swirl, with a visual reminder of the Nixon administration to boot.
A White House official told the official pool reporter that the only media present for Trump's meeting were official Russian and U.S. government photographers.
"It's an honor to have Henry Kissinger with us".
Even the White House letter to Comey justifying his firing seemed to have been written with little thought for logic or clarity, confusingly pointing to Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, then bringing up the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Tillerson at the State Department before he was to head to the White House for talks with Trump.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe disagrees with the White House suggestion that it's a low priority of the FBI to investigate Russian interference in the election and potential Trump campaign collusion.
That's around the time Comey was asking the Justice Department for more resources to pour into the Russian Federation investigation - an indication the questions will be continuing. "We didn't raise those absurd issues", he said in a post-meeting press conference.
The Russian diplomat steadfastly refused to weigh in on Trump's decision to fire James Comey, the former FBI director, who had been overseeing investigations of alleged Russian interference in the US election and possible collusion by Trump's campaign.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was sacked for lying about his contacts with Kislyak late previous year. Last year, the Obama administration shut down two Russian compounds in NY and Maryland and kicked out 35 Russian officials. Ties soured further in April after the US blamed a Russian ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, for a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians and Trump ordered that some 60 cruise missiles be fired at a Syrian air base in response.
The Russian minister said there would be four de-escalation areas, including in the south, "which is a particular interest for the United States", as it would stabilize the border area between Syria, Jordan and Israel. Russian agencies tweeted photos from the Oval Office showing that in addition to Lavrov, Trump shook hands with Russia's ambassador to America, Sergey Kislyak - a key figure in the investigation into Trump's ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
McCabe told Burr that he could not comment on any conversations between Trump and Comey. In the next one, Kislyak is covering his mouth as he laughs. The May 10 meeting was closed to the public, and it's unclear what they discussed. The session didn't appear on the President's schedule earlier in the day, and members of the media were scrambled at the last minute to shoot a photo-op of the session.
"Frankly, he'd been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he was elected", said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
Still, the overlap between the investigation and Trump's diplomatic efforts made for uncomfortable optics.
After Tillerson visited Putin and Lavrov in Moscow on April 12, Trump said flatly, "Right now we're not getting along with Russian Federation at all".
On Ukraine, Trump expressed his Administration's commitment to remain engaged in resolving the conflict and stressed Russia's responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.
"This is Nixonian", Pennsylvania Sen.
Reuters reported Wednesday from Moscow that the Kremlin had said it hoped Comey's firing would not affect Russia's ties with the United States, saying it believed his dismissal had nothing to do with Russian Federation.