FIRST ON CNN: Boehner turns down request to meet with Russian delegation
September 4th, 2013
06:50 PM ET
8 months ago

FIRST ON CNN: Boehner turns down request to meet with Russian delegation

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner turned down a request from Russian diplomats who hope to directly lobby the U.S. Congress and undercut President Barack Obama on Syria.

“The Speaker has declined the Russian embassy’s request that he meet with a delegation," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington told CNN Wednesday that diplomats sent an official request to congressional leaders to meet with them on Capitol Hill.

“We’re planning the visit,” an embassy spokesman told CNN. “We can’t tell you the exact time, but it will be next week.”

Still under discussion in Moscow: exactly who will be in the delegation.

The embassy spokesman said only wide parameters are firm right now, that it will be members of both the upper and lower chambers of the Russian parliament and that they intend to meet with senators and House members of both political parties.

Russia, a Syrian ally and major trading partner, is closely tied with the Assad government and leaders in Moscow have vocally opposed U.S. military intervention in the conflict.

It’s not clear how other congressional leaders besides Boehner will respond to the request, but the delegation could face a cool reception if they arrive on Capitol Hill.

“At this particular point, my understanding has been that relations between members of Congress and the Russian parliament have been very sour,” said Dick Lugar, former head of Senate Foreign Relations Committee and known for his work with Russian officials.

“I don’t think a delegation from Russia will make any difference in terms of congressional votes,” he added. “But at the same time there may be the possibility that dialogue could lead to other positive things.”

When told about the request, one House leadership aide was less embracing, sarcastically replying, “Good luck to ‘em!"


Filed under: Congress • Russia • Syria
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    Did I just read that right?? Boehner didn't go against President Obama??? Can someone please check the temperature in H&LL? They must be having a snowball fight down there.
    Wow. Congratulations Boehner!

    September 5, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Way to go, Mr. Speaker! No fan of the President, but he IS the President, and NO foreign government should attempt to undercut the Chief Executive. Proud of you, John!!

    September 5, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    I think the saddest part of this story is the fact that the Russians actually thought that a member of the U.S. Congress would actually go along with them. This proves they are watching us closely and see all of the anti-Obama rhetoric.

    A house divided cannot stand. It's time the GOP starting working with the POTUS instead of against him. Bravo Speaker Boehner, bravo.

    September 5, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    House Speaker John Boehner turned down a request from Russian diplomats who hope to directly lobby the U.S. Congress and undercut President Barack Obama on Syria
    ------------------------------------------------- Paul and Mary mother of God! Hell has frozen over!!
    WELL DONE SPEAKER BOEHNER!!
    I'm going to overlook that fact that 2014 is right around the corner and your team is in DIRE need of doing something to redeem your boorish status amongst the voters, and as such I will say again "Well done!".
    One good disrespectful put down by the Russians deserves another, and if there is anything the Republicans have excelled at is being disrespectful.
    So I thank you Speaker Boehner for FINALLY acting like an American and standing up for your President.
    And to the poster that said that "pride goes before the fall" just call me Trippy! Lol!

    September 5, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. Anonymous

    It's appaling to me that a foreign government knows the political dissension in the US so well that it understands that it can go behind the presidents back, undermine his authority and directly appeal to the traitors in our own government who don't understand the importance of presenting a united front to our enemies.

    September 5, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  6. Data Driven

    Bizarroworld: I'm cheering John Boehner this morning.

    September 5, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    AZ_Ronin

    It's called "Divide and Conquer" The rift between this dysfunctional congress and the President is so bad that other countries are now trying to use this to their advantage. This just may be the best decision Boehner ever made... It's about time he woke up. Now if he could get the rest of the obstrucionists in line; we could actually move forward. But I won't hold my breath on that
    -------------------------------------------------
    Correct.
    Add to that the FACT that Congress has the lowest approval rating it has EVER enjoyed and you can see why "respect" for our CIC from the Republicans has reared it's head....if only just this once.
    An unenviable corner the Republicans have allowed themselves to be painted into with 2014 right around the corner. They are under a very tight deadline to change the nation's extremely negative perception of anything associated with the letters GOP.
    Appearing to support a trusted and respected President is as smart a place for them to start as any.

    September 5, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "House Speaker John Boehner turned down a request from Russian diplomats who hope to directly lobby the U.S. Congress and undercut President Barack Obama on Syria."

    Every now and again John Boehner surprises. This would be one of those times. Never should a foreign government be allowed to "lobby" the United States Congress. There are too many lobbyists as it is within America vying (and one might argue bribing) for Congressional votes.

    September 5, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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