Rss@dailykos.com (hunter) · Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 5:48 pm
What’s Russia’s response to the news that Donald Trump leaked classified information to Russian diplomats during a not-entirely-routine meeting? Mocking the American press.
The spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said she had received dozens of messages asking about the reports, which have been denied by the White House.
"Guys, have you been reading American newspapers again?" [Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova] wrote on her Facebook page. "You shouldn't read them. You can put them to various uses, but you shouldn't read them. Lately it's become not only harmful, but dangerous too."
It's difficult to tell who's parroting who, here. The Russians were quick to jump aboard Trump's "fake news" declarations, but Trump's contempt for the press has been a longtime staple of Putin's government. Let's just say they're on the same page. Zakharova also specifically denied the White House shared such information, though that claim was strictly rendered obsolete by, well, Donald Trump.
If the foreign ministry is feeling cocky here, they have reason to be. A state-run Russian news outlet was the only press presence allowed into the Trump meeting, and they were quick to repay the favor by playing Trump for a rube.
It was actually Russian media, not U.S. media, that revealed that Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also included Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — reporting that, according to one official, made the White House “furious.” Despite the visual evidence, the White House has repeatedly avoided any confirmation that Kislyak was in the room.
Why the White House sensitivity? It's probably because conversations with Kislyak, specifically, were the things that got Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn fired, caused Attorney General Jeff Sessions to lie to Congress during his confirmation hearings, and are the subject of continued intelligence investigations. So, ya know … oops.