Trump, Lavrov meet: Russian photographer's presence in Oval Office raises questions

Cheryl Sanders
May 12, 2017

The meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov comes just one day after the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Mr Trump's firing of his Federal Bureau of Investigation director - who was probing Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation - had drawn comparisons to Mr Nixon the day before.

When President Trump met with top Russian officials in the Oval Office on Wednesday (May 10), White House officials barred reporters from witnessing the moment.

After U.S. reporters began inquiring about the source of the photos, the White House responded by saying: "On background, our official photographer and their official photographer were present, that's it".

Mr Trump's session with Mr Lavrov was listed on his schedule as "Closed Press", meaning the media would not have a chance to photograph or otherwise document the meeting. The announcement came from the Russian state media but the White House did not immediately confirm the planned pow-wow. On Wednesday morning before meeting with Trump, Lavrov even cracked a joke about his hosts' political predicament, laughingly claiming not to have heard of the Comey firing while standing alongside Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Journalists were later allowed into the Oval Office and found Trump sitting alone with Henry Kissinger where they posed for a photo op, reports the Associated Press.

Officials from the White House insisted that there was no way a Russian photographer could smuggle any devices inside his equipment.

Last December "Face the Nation", moderator John Dickerson sat down with the former Secretary of State and asked him about Russian hacking during the election.

The Post noted that among the critics are former deputy Central Intelligence Agency director David S. Cohen, who condemned the decision on Twitter.

Is Trump really this naive about Putin?

Russian listening devices have previously been found in the USA embassy and the State Department.

American media photographers were prohibited from the Oval Office for the meeting.

USA intelligence agencies have asserted that Moscow meddled in the election to help Trump's chances of victory.

The Kremlin website said Putin and Trump were "in favour of organizing a personal meeting in connection with a meeting of the G20 summit".

An administration official told The Washington Post that the White House was misled about the true role of a Russian photographer at the event.

Other reports by iNewsToday