After getting a largely negative backlash for firing FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday, President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday. Comey was leading an investigation into alleged ties and collusion that Trump’s campaign aides had with Russia, and possibly if Trump, himself, also had connections with Russia that unfairly influenced the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in his favor. Comey’s firing was reportedly for making public the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, instead of following standard protocol and turning it over to the Justice Department.
The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has only one event on his public schedule for Wednesday, a meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. The meeting, at the White House at 10:30 a.m. ET, will be Trump’s first one he has had, in person, with one of the Russian government’s senior officials. The meeting will not be open to the press.
There are many topics that President Donald Trump is expected to talk about with Lavrov, like the ongoing civil war in Syria, and the alliance Trump would like to forge between the United States and Russia to jointly combat the spread of global terrorism. During a phone conversation Trump had on May 2 with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two world leaders reportedly talked about some of the same topics Trump will probably bring up again and discuss with Lavrov.
NBC News reported that President Donald Trump’s meeting with Lavrov on Wednesday comes not many days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson commented that the relations between the United States and Russia are “at a low point.”
President Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey has prompted speculation that he was motivated more by wanting to see an end to the FBI’s ongoing investigation related to his campaign aide’s possible ties with Russia than he was by “the recommendation of senior Justice Department officials” that Comey should be fired. The officials recommended Comey’s firing because of his unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton last year by making his investigation into her use of a private email server public as she was campaigning against Trump.
At the time Comey addressed Congress and spoke of the investigation, Donald Trump praised him for his actions. On Tuesday, Trump reversed his opinion of Comey and said the FBI director’s actions were behind why he decided to fire Comey. CNN reported that Democrats ridiculed Trump’s reasons for firing Comey, saying that it is similar to Nixon’s “Watergate-era firings.” Further concerns that Trump is trying to get “too cozy with Putin’s government,” are likely to be raised by the president’s critics.
Earlier on Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will also have a meeting with Lavrov. The State Department announced they will discuss topics like Syria, Ukraine, and bilateral issues. Tillerson’s scheduled meeting with Lavrov was first announced last Wednesday.
Wednesday morning will be President Donald Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. NBC News reported that Tillerson has met with Lavrov twice before. The first time was last February, in Bonn, Germany. They met for the second time last month, in Moscow.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy FBI