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President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Wednesday., but back in March he ignored the opportunity to extend that same courtesy to American ally and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Russian Embassy Photo
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President Donald Trump declined to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hand when the two met in the Oval Office on March 17. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

"White House furious after being trolled with Russia Oval Office photos" was the headline on a story.

You have to know that this is destined to become a "Saturday Night Live" knee-slapper.

The White House on Tuesday fires FBI Director Jim Comey and says it's because of how he treated the Hillary Clinton email investigation — though there can't possibly be a person alive who doesn't at least question (if not believe) that the firing was over Comey's treatment of the Trump/Russia investigation.

Then the very next day the White House hosts an Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to the U.S. — Sergey Kislyak, the very Russian ambassador whose interactions with Trump campaign officials, especially fired national security adviser Mike Flynn, have come under scrutiny by Comey, the FBI and congressional investigators.

The White House refuses to allow U.S. media to watch or photograph the meeting, but allow in a Russian state news agency, and Trump — with full Hollywood smile — gladhands with the Russians for both video and still photos.

Remember, this is the same president who looked the other way and carefully clasped his hands near his lap in March when it was time for a handshake photo op with American ally and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office.

Ah, yes — the messaging of optics.

The White House did not post the Russian state agency photos and did not anticipate the Russian government would. But of course Russia did — right there on Trump's favorite news and propaganda tool, Twitter.

And why not? Such a thing to crow about.

Can't you hear the snickers around Russian water coolers? See, Trump fired the guy snooping into our manipulation of America's election, and now we're all in the Oval Office celebrating

Even the notion that the White House is "furious" is funny.

"They tricked us," an angry White House official said.

"That's the problem with the Russians — they lie," the official added.


That's funny on so many levels.

You think the Russians are tricky? Wait — who lies?

Can't you see the part of the SNL skit where the Russians and Trump get into a verbal one-up-manship contest over who lies bigger and better than the other?

The Russians added insult to injury by also posting a video of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Lavrov who jokes with reporters outside the meeting room: "Was FBI Director Comey fired? You're kidding!"

Speaking of kidding, former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice did her own tweeting in response to the White House official's complaint that the White House was "tricked."

"No kidding!" Rice posted.

Bring it on, SNL.

We have to laugh about this.

Because to really think about it all in the dire serious terms that it really deserves would be instead to just sit down and cry.