“We Did Not Touch On That At All”: Lavrov Denies Trump Said “Comey Is A Nut Job
In the “he said, she said” world of unconfirmed, unsourced political intrigue, on Friday the US went to sleep with fresh news of the latest diplomatic snafu by Trump, when the NYT reported that during his president with the Russian Foreign minister Lavrov on May 10, Donald Trump said that Comey is a “nut job” and that his firing “eased pressure” from the ongoing Russian investigation.
The exchange in question:
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”
Predictably, the alleged exchange was the only thing on the media’s mind during Lavrov’ spress conference on Saturday, in which the Russian Foreign Minister refuted claims that he had discussed the firing of the former FBI director Comey with President Trump.
“We did not touch on that topic at all,” Lavrov told reporters on Saturday according to Russia’s RIA press agency.
Which in retrospect appears strange since not even the White House disputed the NYT’s version of events, and instead WH press secretary Sean Spicer simply doubled down the attack on Comey saying that “by grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia.”
Furthermore, Lavrov’s denial did not prevent the Russian Foreign Minister to have some amusement at Trump’s expense, when in a recent meeting Cyrpus with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland, Lavrov said:
Thorbjorn Jagland: These pictures (protocol photoshoot) won’t cause any problems for you?
Sergey Lavrov: It depends on what kind of secrets you pass on to me
[Laughter in the room]
To be sure, that was in reference to yet another diplomatic snafu emerging from the Trump-Lavrov meeting, when according to a previous report Trump had disclosed confidential data to Lavrov, a story which Russia also vocally denied.
Of course, without the dissemination of an verbatim transcript of what was said, there is no way of confirming either side of the story. That said, in light of the ongoing allegations of Trump’s alleged escalating diplomatic verbal blunders, it may not be a bad idea for Trump to do what Obama vowed, and indeed become the most transparent administration ever by sharing all the source material that have become such a vast headache for his administration.