On Wednesday morning Russia’s foreign minister finds himself in Washington meeting both Donald Trump and his secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
Trump’s firing of Comey has sparked new calls for an independent probe into Russia’s role in last year’s USA presidential election, despite his administration’s assertion that Comey is being replaced because of the way he handled the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
The White House, for its part, has tried to spin Trump’s past praise of Comey’s decisions regarding the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
As the President delivered his withering assessment of Mr Comey’s work, reports emerged that America’s top law enforcement official had asked for more money and manpower for his Russian Federation investigation in the days before he was sacked.
But in response to a shouted question from NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell asking if Comey’s firing “cast a shadow over your talks”, Lavrov responded: “Was he fired?”.
“Was he fired? You’re kidding”, Lavrov said sarcastically, feigning surprise as he started his day of meetings in Washington. It would also signal that the two countries have improved ties Trump recently described as being at an “all-time low”. Kislyak has been of particular interest in the investigation into Trump associates. The pool was ushered into the Oval Office at 11:26 a.m., where instead Lavrov, President Trump was seated beside former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be received by a USA president for a bilateral meeting in the White House.
“We had a very good conversation with Minister Lavrov”,- quote the media.
“Good job, by the FBI”, Trump said in November. The firing raises doubts about the status of an investigation into the possible connection between Russian Federation and Trump campaign. The minister is now holding talks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Rosenstein then wrote a memo for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who then recommended to Trump that Comey be fired. Tillerson ignored questions about Trump and Comey.
Nauert says the leaders also discussed the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. The attempt at a reset didn’t work and relations between the U.S. and Russian Federation at the end of the Obama administration plunged to Cold War-era lows.
In particular, Tillerson and Lavrov are expected to discuss the “de-escalation zones” inside Syria that Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to create last week.