This text was published on May 12, 2017.
Donald Trump grins broadly into the camera and beaming with joy greets his Russian guests: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. You get along great. At least that's the impression given by the pictures that captured the meeting in the Oval Office. On Wednesday they went around the world. But they weren't intended for that, according to the White House.
"They betrayed us," an anonymous source told CNN. "That's the problem with the Russians - they lie."
Only two official photographers were admitted to the meeting: one from the White House and one from the Russian side. The press was not invited. Therefore, the White House assumed that the photos were only intended for the archives and not for publication, a government official told the Washington Post. However, the Russians concealed the fact that their photographer also works for the Tass news agency.
And so the White House would have been amazed when the Russian Foreign Ministry first published the pictures via the Flickr Internet service on Wednesday and Tass then followed suit.
However, the Kremlin denies that there was such an arrangement. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US side "did not ask not to publish the photos."
And so it stands statement against statement. The White House has not officially commented on the case. It is not known who the sources from CNN and the Washington Post are. It is also not possible to judge whether the statements came from two different people or from one and the same employee.
Trump, meanwhile, responded to the reports in his own unique way. He published two photos via Twitter showing him in his White House office - one with Lavrov and one with his Ukrainian colleague Pavlo Klimkin. He wrote that he met Lavrov and Klimkin "yesterday on the same day". "LET'S MAKE PEACE!" Trump added in capital letters.
The White House also followed suit, releasing photos Thursday of the meeting behind closed doors of the Oval Office.
The US government would have had enough reason to protect the meeting from public attention. James Comey's dismissal was announced just 16 hours earlier. An unfortunate scheduling. The US President is said to have fired the head of the FBI because he was too eager to investigate possible contacts with Russia by the Trump team.