FIRST ON CNN: Boehner turns down request to meet with Russian delegation
September 4th, 2013
06:50 PM ET
12 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. Jayakumar

    FInally, the congress does something honorable, refusing to undercut the president o the United state. What does the russians think of us – that americans whether republican or democrat will insult their leader, whatever party he might be. Maybe the russians do that, but not us.

    September 4, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. oldesalt

    Sounds like the US has an agenda and they don't want anyone to throw it off track.

    September 4, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. Ram Jispy

    I bet Teapublicans would be secretly very happy to meet with Putin and his emissaries.

    September 4, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. collin ott

    Washing would say, Give us Snowden and we won't strike.

    September 4, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. Jansree411

    And heeeeeeere comes the Cold War! Get ready folks!

    September 4, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Tom Smith

    Whatever you do, keep the Russian delegation AWAY from the Looney's.... Rand Paul, Michele Bachman (Oops she's gone)....etc.

    September 4, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. OldSchool

    The Russians can push their propaganda on someone else, we aren't buying it.

    September 4, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. justsomerandomguy24

    May as well meet with them. I suppose it couldn't really make things any worse.

    September 4, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  9. bcjonah

    Wow... the Russians are a coming... good for them. Now if Washington could just be a wee bit hospitable and climb off their make believe thrones... swallow some pride... and take part in honest, positive and constructive communication.

    September 4, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. scranton

    Well done Boehner.

    September 4, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. pkrbkr3

    Kudos to John Boehner!

    September 4, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Fish

    Can we start calling him Benedict Arnold Boehner??? I think we can, typical Republican abandoning ship before the collision, or did he just sober up???

    September 4, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. Organic1

    Will wonders never cease .

    September 4, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  14. LouAZ

    Careful there Congress. They are just trying to get in the door. They want Seward's Folly back ! Tell them No Deal, unless they take Para Salin and all her brood.

    September 4, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. GBrown

    What in the world are these nimrods in Washington thinking and doing? Why would you close off any type of discussion with any other Super Power. If you do not agree with there position that's fine, however as an elected official of OUR Government you should have your eyes as well as your ears open and keep communication open period. I am not saying our government has to agree with any other but come on you don't pee on a 4 alarm fire to try to put it out for goodness sake. I for one do not want to see us step back in time Richard Lugar has done ALOT in his years to try to repair issues with Russia and the United States he knows Russia and there politics like no other. I guess it would be to stupid to ask for advice from someone who knows them. Has anyone even proven if it was the Syrian Government or the rebels that has committed these crimes? I haven't heard of any solid proof just accusations. I say stay out of it and let them fight there own civil war. We seem to be close to a Civil War of our own right here.

    September 4, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. TheAbsurdity

    I'm under the impression that our politicians believe that diplomacy is an old wooden ship.

    September 4, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. SC

    Thank you, Boehner. This is one right thing you did in a long time.

    September 4, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  18. David

    Because he's on vacation golfing no doubt.

    September 4, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. eric

    This is ugly. Our government is too happy about the idea of bombing Syria.

    September 4, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Danni

    This is the attitude that gets us nowhere. This is why it is unsafe to travel abroad. This is why this country is failing.

    This is horrible.

    September 4, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. ya rights

    He is the GOP after all, my way or the highway baby, now even the Russians know they party is a waste of time....

    September 4, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Ed

    Too funny - the Republicans are getting courted by the commies.

    September 4, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  23. Commentwillgetdeleted

    Thank you Boehner! Russia did not want to play ball with us so you House Speaker!

    September 4, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. allenwoll

    NOT wise to snub the Russkies ! ! . NOT wise at all, but typical ! !

    September 4, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Awesome

    Pride goes before a fall. It was really rude of Boehner to turn down this request. Putin is now surely going to take action on this snub.

    September 4, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
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