On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be in Washington for the first time since 2013. After he meets with Secretary of State (God, I hate typing that) Rex Tillerson, Lavrov is scheduled to meet with Donald Trump for the very first time. As the Russian counterpart to Tillerson, Lavrov will be the highest-ranking official from Putin’s government to visit with Trump so far.
Officially, the focus will be on Syria, how to fight the Islamic State, and what to do about violence in Eastern Ukraine. But with Russia still denying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the chemical attack that killed over a hundred people early in April, the official U.S. position was that U.S.-Russian relations were “at a low point” just three weeks ago. Before Tillerson went to meet with Lavrov in April, he called Russia “complicit or simply incompetent” in its dealings with Syria. After Tillerson’s visit, Trump himself was even more blunt:
Right now we’re not getting along with Russia at all.”
Honestly, though, it’s not like the spectre of election meddling won’t cast a dark cloud over Washington. After Tuesday’s abrupt dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, it marked the third official fired by Trump that was investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to skew the election. In fact, evidence at this point is so strong that after testimony from James Clapper and Sally Yates before the Judiciary Committee, even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham wants a deeper look into Trump’s business dealings in Russia.
Trump, of course, continues to deny any involvement with Russia at all, calling the entire debacle a “hoax” brought on by bitterness over his electoral victory. Perhaps all the talk about not getting along with Russia is just to throw investigators off, or maybe Trump really is mad at them — for not being able to hold up their end of the secrecy.
At least when they meet with this Russian official, there will be no investigations about it afterward.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons