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. GOP = Greed Over People

    May we assume the tea baggers will be holding rallies outside the Congressional Halls and the Tea Party Caucus leadership one Mooshell Bachmann will be giving the Russian delegation their full-throated support?

    Will they will pull out all the stops, and have the Tundra Temptress show up in a cheer leaders outfit( courtesy of Neiman Marcus) and a glittery sash stating "I heart Russia" and twirling fiery batons as her talent, er, to show her support?

    September 4, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Dano

    It will be interesting to see if the Russians can get those lunkheads to do anything.

    September 4, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Anthony in California

    Dear Republicans.. first you caused the world to doubt we could get our purse strings in order and you caused our credit rating to drop (hoping it'd make the President look bad. It didn't).

    Secondly.. you are now about to "pal around with commies" to undermine our President.... wow.
    Treasonous? Wheres your patriotism now?

    Really putting the "Red" in Red States....

    September 4, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. bernard and india walker

    we can wait if the russians will show us wear to stand when we fight bac. they closer than we are

    September 4, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Maybe the Russians want to talk about political amnesty or extradition treaties ?

    September 4, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Winston Smith

    As always, the war machine will have it's say over all that we say and do. Those willing to shed other peoples blood will be the most vocal. The politicians getting kickbacks from military suppliers, will prosper. It's the same story, just a different decade. The people expressing the need for a center of the road approach, will be the first casualties.

    September 4, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. penguin

    Talk is cheap

    September 4, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Name

    World war 3 coming to a planet near you

    September 4, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  9. Mike Bushman

    Good for Boehner, even if I'm not convinced we have any strategy yet to win both the war and the peace. We can't let foreign governments forum shop to sell their objectives.

    September 4, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  10. nikeswoosh007

    The United States is uncooperative and stupid.

    September 4, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. Mark

    "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."

    While the Russians obviously have their own agenda as supporters of Syria, I have also noticed they seem to be asking a lot of the right questions. But if we are so absolutely sure of the evidence then why would he not meet them? It seems more like they are putting on the blinders to anything but a military strike.

    September 4, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. No More American Bombs

    America, stop! If this is truly a world issue you must meet with other world leaders and discuss this jointly. United States is NOT the world police, so stop acting like it!

    September 4, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  13. tim freeman

    We dont't care if you are first. Just get the story right and lead with the news and not your bragging headline.

    September 4, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. jon

    The Russians are certainly NOT our allies.

    September 4, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. Steve

    Probably a good thing he turned them down – don't need a 'cry-baby' meeting with a Super Power!!

    September 4, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. Jesus

    Well, at least he's still got a pink tie and a face full of tears.

    September 4, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. Hamoreh1

    Boy! The Russians musts really be desperate! Just put the names of the delegates on the list of "Persona Non Grata" that the US Government has for Russian Officials that have human rights violations! NO VISAS!

    September 4, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. Millie

    Finding resolutions comes out of conversing with opposition.

    September 4, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  19. JT

    Why would we NOT meet with them? Doesn't make sense to REFUSE to listen to other perspectives on this issue. With this and the NSA stuff the USA seems more like the old Nazis and Commies than the old USA

    September 4, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. kphenix

    It would be funny to see members of Congress and this Russian delegation brawl on Congress floor.

    September 4, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. arottenegg

    grab your hats the circus is in town!

    September 4, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. aztnge

    And everybody thinks Obama is so bad ~ leave it to the Repubs to do everything in their power to instigate/start WWIII

    September 4, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. kphenix

    It would be funny to see members of Congress and this Russian delegation get into one of those crazy, all-out brawls we see happen in other countries all the time.

    September 4, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  24. DEM3

    This is how wars are started. Lack of communication. What is this non-sense!?

    September 4, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  25. smkedbacon

    Well no surprise he doesn't listen to his own constituancy, why would he listen to someone that might talk in nuclear terms? Bio warfare in Washinton DC Obama Aid in the drinking supply.

    September 4, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8