The White House said Thursday it got trolled by Russia with the release of a photo that showed President Trump shaking hands with Russia’s foreign minister in the Oval Office, according to a report.
Russian news agency TASS posted the photo — taken a day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — showing the Trump and Sergei Lavrov shaking hands during the meeting that was closed to reporters.
The White House was blindsided that the photo ended up on social media — and was used by Russia to troll the US.
“They tricked us,” one White House official groused to CNN. “That’s the problem with the Russians — they lie.”
The Russians posted the Lavrov picture and another from that day showing Trump smiling and shaking hands with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Twitter.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also tweeted a video of Lavrov cracking a sarcastic joke about Comey’s termination after meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which was open to the press.
“Was [Comey] fired? You are kidding! You are kidding!” Lavrov snapped at a reporter.
An official White House photographer was also present at Trump’s meeting with Lavrov, but the US government did not post the pictures.
A White House official told CNN it was standard practice to keep presidential meetings with lower-level foreign officials under wraps, compared to giving press access to visits from heads of state.
The official downplayed Trump’s meeting with Kislyak, who has been at the center of an ongoing investigation into potential ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
Ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned for possibly misrepresenting conversations he had with Kislyak months before Trump took office.
“It is ridiculous to say that an ambassador can’t meet with the president as part of a visit from a foreign minister. It’s standard practice,” the official said.
Comey was canned Tuesday because he “wasn’t doing a good job,” the president said.
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