The latest example of synthetic paranoia and conspiracy theorizing focusing on the meeting in the Oval Office between President Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov serves as a further example of how detached from reality the whole issue of Donald Trump’s alleged contacts with Russia has become/
Firstly, as my colleague Adam Garrie rightly says, it is simply untrue that the US media was ‘excluded’ from the meeting and that the Russian media was shown preference. A US photographer was present along with a Russian photographer. No preference was shown to the Russians. They were simply treated equally.
The meeting as my colleague Adam Garrie points out was a private one, as are the vast majority of meetings the President carries out in his own office. In this case he was meeting the Foreign Minister of a foreign power – Russia – to talk about serious issues of common interest between two nuclear superpowers whose relations with each other could scarcely be worse. Obviously such a meeting takes place without outsiders from the media present, and no one can seriously imagine that such a meeting could take place in any other way.
The fact that the meeting was a private one does not however mean that some sort of conspiratorial discussion between Trump and Lavrov took place during the meeting as some people are trying to imply. Such a thing is actually impossible for reasons which are well known and obvious.
When two people like Trump and Lavrov meet they do not meet alone. They meet with their aides present. In this case we know of at least two other people who were present at the meeting: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russia’s ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. There were almost certainly other aides present as well, and the two sides would also have brought with them their respective teams of interpreters, whose job is not just to carry out translations and do interpreting but also to prepare a complete verbatim stenographic record of all that was said during the meeting.
Though it seems that has been no permanent taping system in the Oval Office since the days of Richard Nixon, there is a strong likelihood that some sort of tape record of the meeting was also made by the US intelligence community – who were almost certainly listening in – probably with the agreement of the White House staff.
The idea that Trump and Lavrov could have said anything sinister or secret to each other which has any bearing on the Russiagate allegations or which is radically different from what has been publicly disclosed about the meeting is a fantasy.
This was a completely normal diplomatic meeting such as takes place all over the world every day. It was carried out properly and in the normal way. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.
Since I doubt that many of the people who are insinuating otherwise don’t know it, the only conclusion that is possible is that they are being deliberately mischievous about the meeting in order to further their political agenda, part of which is to inflict political damage on Donald Trump, but part of which is undoubtedly also intended to obstruct efforts to improve relations between the US and Russia.