With all the communication between Russian government officials and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, you'd think someone at the White House would know that the Kremlin is home to professional trolls.
While the administration downplayed the threat, a senior administration official acknowledged that the White House had been misled about the role of the Russian photographer, who was actually employed by a state-run news agency.
"We were not informed by the Russians that their official photographer was dual-hatted and would be releasing the photographs on the state news agency", a Trump administration official said, according to the Post.
And it may be just a coincidence that the day after firing Comey, the president met in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Alexandr Scherbak, who shot the meeting for Russian state news agency TASS, posted a lengthy message on Facebook urging U.S. journalists "not to lose their professional dignity". The announcement came from the Russian state media but the White House did not immediately confirm the planned pow-wow.More news: Oil rebounds on Saudi assurances Russian Federation will extend supply cuts
More news: North Korea fires unidentified projectile: South Korea military
More news: At least 10 injured as Greek passenger train derails
"You have to bear in mind that this is a hugely experienced team around President Putin", Palmer said.
Washington, May 11 Donald Trump's administration was left red-faced today after the Moscow surprised them by releasing pictures of a closed-door meeting between the USA president and Russia's top diplomat. Barack Obama's staff frequently adopted a similar policy. Normally, such White House meetings are reserved for heads of state. Kislyak was also absent from the original scheduling of the meeting and went similarly unmentioned in the White House's readout of the meeting.
Former Deputy Director of CIA David Cohen replied to the tweet, "No, it was not". The move, announced in a policy memo sent to US attorneys late on May 10, has been expected from Sessions.
Contact with Kislyak led Michael Flynn to be dismissed from his post as national security adviser and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the probe. A lot of people thought I owned office buildings in Moscow. As I was finishing this animation, the Senate committee investigating Russia's meddling in the USA presidential election subpoenaed Michael Flynn. The Russian embassy even tweeted a photograph of Trump smiling broadly as he put his arm around the diplomat while shaking his hand in the Oval Office.
Jill Colvin contributed reporting from Washington.