Russian Foreign Minister Laughs Off Questions About Comey’s Termination

Ivan Sekretarev/AP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday laughed off questions about President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading an investigation into possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

“You just found out that FBI Director Comey was fired,” Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker asked Lavrov at a press conference. “Given his accusations against you, his agency’s accusations, were you glad to hear this news?”

Lavrov laughed. “Well, you seem to be all grown-ups,” he said, speaking through a translator. “I never thought that I would have to answer such questions, particularly being in the U.S. taking into account your highly developed democratic political system.”

Asked if Trump gave Lavrov any private assurances that he does not believe Russia meddled in the 2016 election, Lavrov cited Trump’s public statements on the matter.

“President Trump publicly stated on a number of occasions what he thinks about accusations and allegations regarding Russia’s meddling into your domestic affairs,” Lavrov said. “That is why there is no need for him to tell us anything or to give assurance behind closed doors.”

He said there is “no compelling evidence” that Russia interfered in the election.

“And that’s it,” Lavrov said. “If you are talking about international affairs and traditional affairs in the life of your country, why don’t you try to find out the truth and get those facts?”

Lavrov also joked about Comey’s abrupt termination earlier Wednesday before going into a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“Does the Comey firing cast a shadow over your talks?” a reporter called out.

“Was he fired? You are kidding!” Lavrov responded, deadpan. “You are kidding.”

Caught rinkside on Wednesday by CBS News’ Elizabeth Palmer, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared equally unconcerned, and replied to questions about how Comey’s termination will affect U.S.-Russia relations with a shrug.

“Your question looks very funny from here,” Putin said, speaking through a translator. “Don’t be angry with me. We have nothing to do with it. President Trump is acting in accordance with his competence and in accordance with his law, the Constitution.”

He then invited the reporter to play hockey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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