It’s another case of “you can’t make this stuff up”: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is visiting Washington Wednesday morning for top-level meetings, the day after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey amid an ongoing investigation into Trump’s Russia ties.
Lavrov, described in one Foreign Policy profile as “hard-drinking, hard-charging” and a “relentless and smart negotiator,” appeared to enjoy his appearance in front of American cameras when he scoffed at a reporter’s question about Comey’s firing.
“Does the Comey firing cast a shadow on your talks, gentleman?” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked at a press conference, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was welcoming Russia’s top diplomat—and longest serving post-Cold War foreign minister—to Washington.
“Was he fired?” Lavrov responded in a mocking tone. “You are kidding. You are kidding,” he said, before theatrically shrugging and retreating from the press corps with Tillerson, ignoring further questions.
Here’s video of Lavrov-Tillerson—>
Q: “Does Comey cast a shadow over your talks?”
Lavrov: “Was he fired? You are kidding, you are kidding” pic.twitter.com/8yJb2DkZnd
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) May 10, 2017
Trump is scheduled to meet with Lavrov later today—one day after he removed Comey from his FBI post. The former director had been leading an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible ties between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.
Update, 11:17 am: They’ve met!
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases photo of Pres. Trump shaking hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Oval Office. pic.twitter.com/3IwVqLWWqX
— ABC News (@ABC) May 10, 2017