U.S. President Donald Trump (R) answers reporters' questions during a photo opportunity with Prime Minister Of Denmark in the Oval Office at the White House March 30, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla

Trump welcomes Russian officials into the Oval Office

Even for Donald Trump, the timing is a little over the top. Last week, Russia was accused of intervening in the presidential election in France, a close U.S. ally. Yesterday, Donald Trump fired the director of the FBI, who was overseeing an investigation into Russia’s attack on our election, and the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Moscow.

And today, the White House’s public schedule showed the president with just one meeting: Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Oval Office for a chat.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in the U.S. in the midst of a political maelstrom following President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, news which adds an additional degree of significance to the trip — a fact that wasn’t lost on the visiting dignitary.

“Was he fired?” he sarcastically answered NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, who shouted a question about the move overshadowing the U.S.-Russia talks. “You are kidding. You are kidding.”
Hilarious.

In case this isn’t obvious, given Russia’s recent misdeeds, we’d expect to see the White House taking steps to punish Russia, not reward them with diplomatic niceties.

And yet, there was the Russian Foreign Ministry – not the White House – releasing photos of Trump shaking hands with Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

It’s almost as if they were taking a victory lap.

As for what the president and his team were thinking when they arranged this get-together, the White House hasn’t said. Indeed, given the circumstances, it seems more than possible that Trump welcomed Russian officials into the Oval Office because he’s indebted to them.

In case this weren’t quite enough, the day after Trump took a page from Nixon’s playbook, firing the guy overseeing the investigation into him, Trump also spent time in the Oval Office this morning with Henry Kissinger – who happens to have been Nixon’s Secretary of State and National Security Advisor.

Whether these guys are tone-deaf or have an over-abundance of chutzpah is unclear.

Donald Trump, Russia and White House

Trump welcomes Russian officials into the Oval Office