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Oval Office meeting with Russian officials raises eyebrows

12 Mai 2017

President Donald Trump blasted ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey as a "showboat" and "grandstander" on Thursday even as the agency's acting leader contradicted the president's account that the agency had been in turmoil before he fired Comey. But usually in this sort of case, you would get a joint news conference between Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Well-sourced reports in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets agreed on a very different explanation: Trump had grown increasingly angry at the doggedness with which Comey's FBI was investigating how and why Russian Federation meddled in the election. "I was going to fire Comey". Hoover's successor L Patrick Gray, acting director under then-president Richard Nixon, was forced out after just under a year for obeying White House orders and burning Watergate-related documents.

The White House is facing criticism for a possible security breach after it allowed a Russian news service photographer into the Oval Office to snap photos of President Donald Trump and a pair of top Russian officials.

The administration official also said the White House had been misled about the role of the Russian photographer.

Picture this. The day after Trump fires the guy who's leading the FBI's Russiagate probe, he hosts the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador whose phone chat with Mike Flynn in December led to Flynn being fired.

I do believe in coincidences, up to a point.

"I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard". Together, said analysts, the cases put him in an nearly impossible situation - anything revealed before or after the Nov 8 vote could draw a severe backlash from political parties and accusations of favouritism. Kislyak has been a key figure in investigations of alleged ties between Trump associates and the Russian government.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned in February after reportedly misleading senior administration officials about past talks with Kislyak.

The White House blocked U.S. reporters from photographing the meeting, opting to allow only White House and Russian photographers to capture images of Trump's interactions with Lavrov.

"President Trump clearly confirmed his interest in building mutually beneficial, business-like pragmatic relations", he told journalists.

The White House's readout of Trump's meeting with Lavrov did not mention Kislyak. He finally has the ear and admiration of the leader of the world's superpower, a Putin promise fulfilled after years of chilly U.S. -Russia relations.

The Associated Press and other agencies distributed the photos, labeling them as handouts from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"We do not discuss in any way with anyone the changes of our cadres and we only announce the decisions taken in this regard by President Vladimir Putin", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov. If there were nothing to hide, it would be much more in Trump's interest for an investigation to press ahead with dispatch and with full powers and to clear up the suspicions and uncertainty as quickly as possible. Typical investigative procedure is to start at the bottom of an organization and work your way up. "He said: 'You are not under investigation'". "I'm especially concerned about his Russian Federation ties".

Trump Jr. responded saying that the president made $150 million and paid $45 million in taxes, noting the 2005 tax returns obtained and published in March by MSNBC.

In his first interview since firing Comey on Tuesday, Trump appeared to try to underscore that Comey's dismissal was about his performance at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and not about the Russian Federation probe.

Oval Office meeting with Russian officials raises eyebrows