President Donald Trump attempted to call out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday by highlighting a meeting over a decade ago between Schumer and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump tweeted the image after it appeared in a Reddit thread Thursday and was shared by a number of conservative pundits, including an editor-at-large for Infowars.com, a site that promotes conspiracy theories. The picture also appeared on Gateway Pundit, which has also promoted conspiracies, as well as on conservative site, The Drudge Report.
The photo appears to be from 2003, when Putin made a public appearance at a New York City gas station that had recently been bought by Russia’s Lukoil. Schumer responded to Trump by highlighting the absurdity of his comparison, noting that Sessions denied having contact with Russia’s ambassador while he was under oath.
Trump’s tweet comes after several separate reports detailing that several of the president’s top advisers, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and son-in-law Jared Kushner, met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump was president. Flynn discussed sanctions imposed by the Obama administration at the end of last year in retaliation for the hacking, but initially denied doing so. Trump has denied that members of his staff were in contact with the Russians during the campaign.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia had interfered in the election with the goal of helping Trump win. The FBI is investigating ties between Trump associates and Russia.
Sessions said Thursday he would recuse himself from any potential investigation of ties between Trump and Russia, but many Democrats have called on Sessions to resign over his failure to disclose the meetings during his confirmation hearing.
Schumer continued, by clearing up some other aspects of his Putin meeting.