Sanders added that it was "proper protocol" to close a meeting to the press when Trump is meeting with a foreign official who is not a head of state.
There was much furor in the US media after the White House blocked USA 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.
The photos of the U.S. president's meeting with the Russian foreign minister presented by TASS photographer Aleksandr Shcherbak triggered an unexpectedly harsh response from some USA mass media.
In addition to posting the Lavrov-Trump picture, the foreign ministry also posted video of Lavrov joking about Comey's firing.
"We regret the emotional obsession with the so-called Russian factor that is being zealously maintained in America", Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Friday in a telephone call with reporters.
Tillerson, who also had a closed-door meeting with Putin during his visit, deplored the "low level of trust" between the two powers, whose relations have sunk to a post-Cold War low over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
Lavrov's visit is one of the highest-level contacts between the Russian and the United States governments since Trump took office in January.
In the meantime, the White House has made no complaints about Shcherbak's work. The presidents have already talked three times by phone and further to this dialogue at the highest level, Mr. Tillerson was hosted in Moscow and Lavrov was hosted in Washington. "Not meet with the Russians?"