U.S. President Donald J. Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 10 in the Oval Office, afterwards calling it a “very good” meeting. Photos of a grinning Trump and Lavrov, two serial liars, emerged.

But the glad-handing looked very bad. It came hours after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, who had sought more money to investigate links between the president’s election campaign and Russia’s interference with the 2016 vote.

Trump’s White House appeared all day to actively try to make those optics worse. U.S. reporters, whom Trump has in the past branded “enemies of the people” (a very Soviet phrase) were barred from the meeting. The only photographs came from Russian state news agency TASS.

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