Kissinger and Trump
© AP/Evan Vucci
In a surprise meeting, Trump sat down with the former secretary of State and official in the Nixon and Ford White Houses.

President Trump invited the press into the Oval Office Wednesday for photos and brief questions with a guest that shocked many of the reporters in attendance: Henry Kissinger, the controversial former secretary of State and official in the Nixon and Ford White Houses. Trump called the meeting "an honor."

Earlier in the morning, Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a choice many found shocking in light of Tuesday night's firing of FBI Director James Comey, whose bureau is investigating ties between the president's campaign and Russia.

Asked in the Oval Office meeting with Kissinger about the Comey termination, Trump said, "He wasn't doing a good job. Very simple. He was not doing a good job."

"With all the comparisons the Nixon era, Trump brings the press into the Oval to see him sitting w/ a key member of the Nixon administration," tweeted Bloomberg and pool reporter Jennifer Epstein who attended the meeting.

The meeting with Kissinger, 93, was not on the president's public schedule, and reporters thought they would be entering the meeting with Lavrov when Trump invited them in the office.

"We're talking about Syria, and I think that we're going to do very well with respect to Syria and things are happening that are really, really, really positive," Trump said, according to the pool report. "We're going to stop the killing and the death."

He added that his meeting with Lavrov was "very, very good." Both sides, he said, want to end "the killing — the horrible, horrible killing in Syria as soon as possible, and everybody is working toward that end."

Kissinger is a deeply embattled figure. Many advocates and journalists have characterized him as a war criminal; the late Christopher Hitchens wrote a scathing book, which was turned into a documentary film, called "The Trial of Henry Kissinger" condemning the former secretary of State for his actions. In a contentious decision, the Nobel Prize committee awarded Kissinger the Peace Prize for negotiating a (ultimately unsuccessful) ceasefire in Vietnam.

According to a Politico profile published in December 2016, Kissinger has had a long-running relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The former secretary of State has been working to get closer to Trump, Politico reports, in an attempt to potentially broker a deal with Russia.

Trump said that he's been friends with Kissinger for a long time. Hillary Clinton, too, spoke of her relationship with Kissinger during the presidential campaign.

The Russian Embassy in the United States Sent out a picture of Trump meeting with Kislyak:

Lavrov also met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and they appeared briefly in front of the press. While Tillerson answered no questions, a reporter asked the pair if Trump's firing of Comey cast a shadow over the meeting.

Lavrov, apparently unaware of the news, appeared shocked by the information. "Was he fired?" he said. But then his tone changed: "You are kidding, you are kidding."