Even the Russian foreign minister’s office isn’t buying President Donald Trump’s excuse for canceling his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
NBC News’ Jonathan Allen reports that a spokesperson for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that they didn’t believe Trump really nixed the meeting because he was concerned about military hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
“Was Ukraine’s provocation in the Kerch Strait the true reason for the cancellation?” the spokesperson asked rhetorically. “We have heard the official explanation and taken note of it… But is it true? I think the true reason is rooted in the domestic political situation in the U.S.”
While talking with reporters on the White House lawn Thursday, Trump said that he was still inclined to have a meeting with Putin at the G-20 summit down in Argentina. Shortly afterward, however, he announced on his Twitter account that he would be canceling the meeting because of his worries about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
This explanation raised a lot of eyebrows at the time because Trump’s abrupt reversal on the meeting came just after former “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 about a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.