Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov joked on May 10 about President Donald Trump firing FBI Director James Comey on May 9 (video below).
Lavrov was visiting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington D.C. at the time of the exchange. Tillerson gave Lavrov a warm welcome, notes The Hill:
I want to welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov to the State Department and express my appreciation for him making the trip to Washington so that we can continue our dialogue, and our exchange of views that began in Moscow with the dialogue he hosted on a very broad range of topics.
One journalist asked if Comey's firing had "cast a shadow" over the meeting.
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"Was he fired?" Lavrov joked. "You are kidding, you are kidding!"
Comey was investigating possible ties between the Russian government and the Trump team when he was abruptly terminated by the president.
The Washington Post reports that, according to two unidentified officials, Comey had requested more resources from the U.S. Justice Department to investigate alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign approximately a week before he was fired by Trump.
However, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said that report was "totally false," and Comey's request "did not happen."
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Comey's reported meeting requesting more resources was with Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who wrote a memo to justify Trump’s firing of Comey on May 9.
Politico notes that Trump considered firing Comey for over a week as he grew enraged over the Russia investigation, according to two unidentified advisors.
One adviser said that Trump screamed at the TV because of the investigation into Russian ties, asked his aides why the investigation would not go away, and demanded that aides speak up for him.
When Trump fired Comey, he reportedly sent his longtime private security guard to FBI headquarters to deliver a manila envelope with the termination letter, but did not call Comey.
Comey, however, wasn't working at FBI headquarters at the time; he learned he was fired from a TV broadcast while speaking at the FBI office in Los Angeles. His firing surprised people in the White House.
"Nobody really knew," a senior White House official told Politico. "Our phones all buzzed and people said, 'What?'"
CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer asked Russian President Vladimir Putin if Comey's firing would affect U.S.-Russia relations, but Putin dismissed the question:
There will be no effect. Your question looks very funny for me. Don’t be angry with me. We have nothing to do with that. President Trump is acting in accordance with his competence, in accordance with his law and Constitution. What about us? Why we?