May 17, 2017

The Trump-Lavrov meeting had issues even before it started

Russian Foreign Ministry / AP

As details from the Trump-Lavrov meeting continue to emerge, the bizarre circumstances that led to their encounter are becoming clearer, too.

Putin left out Lavrov's whereabouts when asking Trump to meet with him.

  • When Trump agreed to meet with Lavrov, it was reportedly after Putin asked him to so they could discuss Syria.
  • But that's not all: Putin said Lavrov was already scheduled to meet with Rex Tillerson, so it'd be easy for him to pop over to the Oval Office.
  • Putin did not mention that Lavrov and Tillerson were scheduled to meet in Alaska, not D.C.

A Russian photographer was mistakenly welcomed into the meeting.

  • The White House was not told that the photographer with Lavrov was a photojournalist and not an official state photographer.
  • While Trump did not allow American journalists into the meeting, he unknowingly brought in a Russian cameraman.

Welcoming Lavrov into the Oval Office is symbolic of a shifting relationship with Russia.

  • Russia allegedly had been asking the Obama administration for a Lavrov meeting for years.
  • But such a meeting would incorrectly imply that the Russia-U.S. relationship was back to an amicable place.

Why it matters: The misleading circumstances that led to the Trump-Lavrov meeting (and the meeting itself) has sparked concerns about Trump's abilities to handle classified intelligence and to manage our relationship with Israel.

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