A meeting on Wednesday between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov did not go without a scandal. The mainstream media in the U.S. went on to complain how Russian Foreign Ministry released photos of Trump meeting with Lavrov and the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak.
However, it was far from the only problem for the U.S. media. Others pointed out at the fact that the only photos of Trump/Lavrov meeting came from Russian MFA because no U.S. press was allowed in.
CNN National Security Correspondent wrote on Twitter:
These photos of Trump-Russia meetings are courtesy solely of Russian MFA because no US press allowed in. pic.twitter.com/PI4cSPIqvG
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 10, 2017
#ComeyFiring Lavrov basic translation: You Americans are so funny. Comey gets fired and you are surprised? Welcome to Russia, Comrades.
— mnpact (@newtbuster) May 10, 2017
Former independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin was more direct:
It's beyond disgraceful that Tillerson would stand by so submissively in Washington as a Russian foreign minister mocks the American press. https://t.co/uonRu72zWn
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) May 10, 2017
McMullin referred to Lavrov’s ‘exchange’ with NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell at the press conference in the White House after his meeting with Trump. Mitchell shouted a question about Comey at the photo-op with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. As he and Tillerson walked away, Lavrov shook his head.
Was he fired? You’re kidding!” Lavrov quipped.
The meeting between Trump and Lavrov caused a flurry of responses from the U.S. press.
Russia takes happy fun time pictures in White House & celebrates their victory in US election – US media not invited in their own country pic.twitter.com/cuYttK8xRS
— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) May 10, 2017
The whole affair started after Russian Foreign Ministry published a photo of Trump and Lavrov in the Oval Office together with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, who is linked with investigation of the alleged Russian contacts with the Trump administration.
Russian ministry then published the photo of Trump and Kislyak shaking hands in what appears to be the Oval Office.
Ambassador Kislyak and President Trump / Посол С.Кисляк и Президент Д.Трамп pic.twitter.com/Ckkx2YL9KX
— Russia in USA ?? (@RusEmbUSA) May 10, 2017
Washington Post went beyond mere criticism of the meeting and even suggested that the presence of TASS (Russian news agency) in the Oval Office could pose a ‘security risk’.
The officials cited the danger that a listening device or other surveillance equipment could have been brought into the Oval Office while hidden in cameras or other electronics. Former U.S. intelligence officials raised questions after photos of Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were posted online by the Tass news agency.
Other former intelligence officials also described the access granted to the photographer as a potential security lapse, noting that standard screening for White House visitors would not necessarily detect a sophisticated espionage device.
The administration official also said the White House had been misled about the role of the Russian photographer. Russian officials had described the individual as Lavrov’s official photographer without disclosing that he also worked for Tass.
In response, the Trump administration spokesperson said that the White House official photographer, as well as Russia’s photographer, were allowed into the meeting. The official also denied the allegations that Russian ambassador Kislyak was present in the Oval Office to influence Trump.
He said that: “It is standard practice for ambassadors to accompany their principals, and it is ridiculous to suggest there was anything improper.” He added that the White House rooms “are swept routinely” for listening devices.