President Trump met with Russia's foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov at the White House earlier; the only item on his public schedule for Wednesday.
Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak also joined the first official meeting of Russian leaders with America's new President.
The main-stream media exploded. First was outrage that the only photo they could obtain of the meeting was from Russian media sources. The smattering of conservatives who were invited onto their panel shows fought hard to contain their laughter.
The media was not allowed to closely cover the high-level meeting. Instead, the White House released a statement echoing Trump's campaign promise of fostering better and warmer relations with Russia, after the U.S. and Russia suffered a historic low in their relationship under former President Barack Obama due to a number of conflicts.
In the official White House statement, President Trump also emphasized the need for the two countries to work together to end violence in Syria and Ukraine and mentioned the prospect of the two countries' cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East. The leaders also discussed the crucial issue of defeating ISIS together, again a consistent commitment of Trump since the presidential campaign last year.
Lavrov first met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department, and it was the latter who brought the foreign minister to President Trump. Tillerson has always made it a priority to improve the country's ties with Russia, even forming a working group to address the issue. Tillerson's spokesman also suggested before the meeting that matters that would be brought up in the meeting specifically include the new Russian plan for safe zones in Syria, the campaign against the Islamic State, weapons development in North Korea and the continued Russian activity in Ukraine.
The White House described the meetings as "very, very good". The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a photo of President Trump shaking hands with Lavrov in the Oval Office. The said meeting was closed to the press. The Russian Embassy in the U.S. later released another photo of Trump shaking the hand of Kislyak also in the Oval Office.
Lavrov and Tillerson also gave a brief one-minute photo opportunity for the cameras prior to the meeting with Trump. Asked by a reporter whether the firing of Comey "cast a shadow" over their meeting, Lavrov gave a sarcastic reply. "Was he fired? You are kidding, you are kidding", Lavrov blurted out.
Lavrov also held a news conference before his crucial meeting with Trump at the Russian embassy. There, the foreign minister denied anew allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, insisting that there is "not a single fact or compelling evidence regarding Russia's intervention". He also said that if such were the case, just to prove his point, then it must have been "humiliating for the American people to realize the Russian Federation is controlling the situation in the United States."
There was no confirmation from either parties whether the burning, fresh controversial issue of Comey's firing was even brought up in the meeting. The meeting, however, shows a strong indication of Trump staying in control, allowing his official business, and a prospective similarly controversial meeting to go on, even if many,including the mainstream liberal media, have yet to move on from the shock firing of Comey only a day earlier.