Dressed for hockey, one of Vladimir Putin's favorite violent sports other than interfering with foreign elections, the Russian President answered an American reporter's questions about the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Putin said Comey's firing will have "no effect" on U.S.-Russia relations. The comment to CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer was his first reaction to President Trump's sudden, surprise firing of the man who led the official investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump Presidential campaign.
The exchange, which was captured on camera, was bizarre. Putin was in his full hockey gear, just before hitting the ice at a hockey game in Sochi.
Here is Putin being asked about the Comey firing while he's wearing freaking HOCKEY gear!pic.twitter.com/Gdo7JkUqLC
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) May 10, 2017
Palmer asked the Russian leader how Comey's firing would impact already frosty relations between the two nations.
"There will be no effect," Putin said, with press aide Dmitry Peskov translating. "Your question looks very funny for me. Don't be angry with me. We have nothing to do with that."
"President Trump is acting in accordance with his competence, in accordance with his law and Constitution," Putin said. "What about us? Why we?"
He then invited Palmer to join him on the rink.
"You see, I am going to play hockey with the hockey fans. And I invite you to do the same," Putin said.
Through the looking glass, people.
Путин вышел на лед: президент играет в хоккей в составе "Сборной легенд" в Гала-матче Ночной лиги pic.twitter.com/zlx4IlmpL0
— Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) May 10, 2017
Earlier today, and before Putin's remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met first with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of Exxon-Mobil, and next Lavrov met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. No American reporters were allowed in the Trump/Lavrov closed-door meeting, but they let in Putin's ITAR-TASS government news agency. Within minutes, Russia's Foreign Ministry tweeted photos showing Ambassador Sergei Kislyak present as well. Also in the room, with a nod to the Nixonian echo of the day? Henry Freaking Kissinger. Yep.
Again, from CBS:
After the meeting with Lavrov, Mr. Trump ushered reporters into the Oval Office, where he was unexpectedly seated across from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
"He was not doing a good job," Mr. Trump said of Comey when asked why he fired him. "Very simply, he was not doing a good job."
WH official says Vladimir Putin asked @POTUS to meet with Russia's top diplomat Sergei Lavrov. Goal is improve US-Russia relations.
— margaret brennan (@margbrennan) May 10, 2017
[See also Buzzfeed's fine coverage of this bizarre moment, from which I grabbed these tweets.]