US News says he "appeared to get irritated," while Politico and NBC note he was being sarcastic, but if Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov didn't know about President Trump firing FBI Director James Comey before Wednesday morning's presser at the State Department, he does now. Lavrov, who's in town to meet with Trump, appeared with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when MSNBC reporter Andrea Mitchell asked, "Does the Comey firing cast a shadow over the talks, gentlemen?" That sent Tillerson to the door while Lavrov lingered. "Was he fired?" he asked. "You're kidding—you're kidding!" Lavrov made a dismissive gesture with his head and exited the room with Tillerson.
Per the State Department, Lavrov's sit-down with Trump on Wednesday was to focus on Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, and "bilateral issues," USA Today reports. NPR notes that even though the Lavrov-Trump meeting was closed to the US press, Russian agencies tweeted pictures of Trump with Lavrov and also with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who was not mentioned on the original itinerary. When the American media was allowed into the Oval Office, they found Trump sitting with Richard Nixon's secretary of state, Henry Kissinger—also a surprise appearance. Meanwhile, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he didn't think the Comey firing would impact the US-Russia relationship, calling it an "independent decision" by Trump that "has nothing to do and should have nothing to do with Russia," per the TASS news agency.