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Thursday, January 9, 2020
CNS Defends Trump Meeting With Russian Foreign Minister

Patrick Goodenough -- who is probably the closest thing to a real reporter has these days -- was curiously quick to rush to President Trump's defense over a meeting last month with the Russian foreign minister, effectively writing a post for CNS parent the Media Research Center instead of an actual "news" article:

As an MSNBC host and on-air analyst pondered what President Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov could have been talking about in their Oval Office meeting on Tuesday, the analyst – a former State Department official – wanted to know why a president was meeting with a foreign minister at all.

“Why is a head of state meeting with the Russian foreign minister?” former Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel wondered. “Vladimir Putin doesn’t meet with Mike Pompeo when he comes to Moscow. So it’s very curious and very strange.”

Later in the show – Lawrence O’Donnell’s “The Last Word” – Stengel said the Russians “love having Trump meeting with the foreign minister. He’s not even opening the door to Putin, he’s – foreign minister.”

“And, and surely Trump doesn’t understand that – that status imbalance that he’s engaging in?” suggested O’Donnell.

“Apparently,” Stengel added.

In fact, President Obama met with Lavrov, also in the Oval Office, on May 7, 2009 – two months after his administration declared a “reset” on relations with Moscow – and again on July 13, 2011.

And, despite Stengel’s assertion that Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t meet with” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Moscow, Putin has held meetings with not only Pompeo but every secretary of state since Madeleine Albright – most of them at the Kremlin. 

But Goodenough curiously omitted the context of this meeting -- and he omitted the context of Stengel's comments. As the full "Last Word" segment shows, Stengel also said of the Lavrov meeting:

By the way, if you were writing the screenplay version of the Trump presidency and you said on the day that President Trump was indicted by the House on impeachment charges, on the day that the Inspector General released a report that saying the Russia investigation is fine, that he was meeting with the Russian foreign minister, you'd say, that's just too unlikely, it couldn't possibly happen. And the fact is he has no NSC, nobody to say, "Sir, I don't think it's such a good idea for you to meet with the foreign minister."

Goodenough can't possibly say that about the circumstances surrounding those other meetings.

Goodenough also complained that O'Donnell and Stengel doubted that Trump brought up Russian election meddling with Lavrov, despite the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting that was the case and Lavrov quasi-denying the subject came up.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EST

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