We have to be a little careful on this one because the original reporting isn’t yet out in original sources (we report with analysis, not just report). There is reporting already on the photographer refusing to move, and we heard reports on television of a fairly serious “scuffle” going on as the reporters stood outside. One could chalk it up to increased tension and increasingly polarized politics, or one could chalk it up to one asshole.
We cannot tell yet. From Mediaite:
Minutes later, Biden and Putin sat for another photo op, Biden upright and slightly more voluble than his slouching counterpart. But there was drama in the foreground, as one reporter pushed to the front of the pack and snapped away with his nogginn firmly embedded in everyone else’s shot.
You can see another photographer repeatedly put his hand on the man’s back and shoulder to try and get him out of the shot, saying “No, no, I can’t see.”
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“Can you move? Because I can’t get a shot of both of them.”
“Can you move? Because we can’t get a shot.”
“No, I can’t do that,” the photog said, utterly lacking f*cks.
After asking a few more times, a frustrated photographer said “This guy’s gotta move.”
We are putting it out there because, first of all, according to reporting on Joe Scarborough, it was serious enough to be the lead story, at least before the leaders completed the meetings (they were just beginning at the time). It resulted in what is called an “intense” scuffle outside. Original reporting is that the photographer was Russian. It makes sense because an American with that attitude wouldn’t be there in the first place or anywhere else afterward. A Russian? Promotion?
In terms of how it was broken up? Probably part by authorities, part by cooler heads. But one also has to think that the Secret Service has a business interest in not allowing a fight starting outside the door of the meeting and especially not a fight when Biden-Putin are done.
But it’s also worth noting that these meetings are far more like Cold War meetings than those before 2012… or about the time Russian started pouring money into the NRA. The evidence of Russian money in the NRA is scant, but enough out there that when the NRA went broke, it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that it happened when reporting on the Russian donations started.
We don’t have the diplomacy or foreign policy experience to really comment upon what should and shouldn’t be taken up in this meeting. But one would hope that Biden stares across at Putin and tells him all about the evidence Biden has of Russian meddling (and possible connection to Trump), while saying something like, “Stop. Today. Or if you do not, I’m going to let some leak and you’ll get even more hammering sanctions by us and every other country that wants you to stay out of their politics. We will additionally leak stuff into your country that will make your life far more difficult, far more.” We hope.
As we said, these are tense meetings, far tenser than just ten years ago and far less than three years ago, when Trump looked to be absolutely beaten as he hauled his ass out. Interesting. Biden won’t look beaten. He may look jovial.
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) June 16, 2021