On Tuesday, Spicer praised the "due process" of the White House in the lead up to Flynn's dismissal and dismissed Yates as "someone who is not exactly a supporter of the president's agenda".
The White House was evidently duped into believing that the Russian with the camera was the state photographer assigned to Lavrov, not also a member of TASS.
According to a New York Times story, Comey was asked by Trump during the dinner for his loyalty.
He further asked United States media "not to pin the blame on other people for their failure in organizing the photo shoot and the failure to provide access to their media".
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman with Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted Thursday: "The format did not imply that the photos were being kept secret".
The chummy photos amazed some observers, particularly coming a day after the president fired FBI director James Comey, who had been running the investigation into whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russian officials.
Shortly before his call for peace Mr Trump sent another Twitter missive: "Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the United States tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election".
The White House posted photos online of the meeting a full day later, but they did not include any images of Mr Lavrov.
U.S. Justice Department orders tougher criminal punishments
According to the Washington Post , Sessions consulted with President Donald Trump and coordinated Comey's firing. You can read the full text of Sessions' memo to prosecutors at this link or by scrolling below.
There was much furor in the USA media after the White House blocked US reporters from photographing the meeting, opting to allow only the White House and a sole Russian photographer to capture the images of the two officials.
White House officials had allowed Scherbak, described by the delegation as Lavrov's photographer, to record the meeting, claiming they didn't know he also works for TASS.
"That's the problem with the Russians - they lie", the official added.
The official also rejected security concerns about allowing Russian officials into the Oval Office, including Kislyak, who is widely considered to be a spy by United States intelligence officials.
Former US intelligence officials have suggested allowing a Russian photographer access to the Oval Office could pose a potential cyber-security risk, and the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers, was grilled on the subject by the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday.
Given the alleged subterfuge, various former officials and experts chimed in with questions on the wisdom of letting the photographer and his equipment into the Oval Office.
The White House also shifted its stance on whether Comey's termination had anything to do with the Russian Federation investigation, at first saying it was not linked. "We took the information we had as best we have it and got it out to the American people as quickly as we could".
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