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

    I certainly do not want to see any war. However, as a Republican...I whole heartedly support Obama, and know my guy Bush would have already bombed. Obama is correct, if they have proof a tiny dictator has crossed humanities red line if they have broke with chemical weapons, defined internationally as a weapon of mass destruction.

    As sick as I am of many US problems, I have to ask myself what kind of country is Russia to do nothing but defend Syria, and use their vote to block any UN or NATO response?. I ask the same of China. What moral character do they have. Do they stand for anything good at all? These International Power Houses that could use their clout for something good, never cease to amaze me. I am thinking Reagan's version of the "Evil Empire" is spot on. Obviously Syria is more evil...but you get my point. If the UN can't get enough resolve to respond to a country unleashing WMD, lets walk from the UN, and disband it.

    September 4, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. jonline

    Do what? The Russians need to deal with the president or secretary of state not the speaker. Boehner did the right thing.

    September 4, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. DG

    Really, boy are we stupid, a way to deal with Syria diplomatically is being handed to us and we are ignoring it? Why, because we didn't suggest it first? Man up and deal with them on a diplomatic level, much better than a military level don't you think??? What idiots do we have running this country anyway?

    September 4, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. Robert

    Who wants diplomacy,We have a War to wage!!!!

    September 4, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. Zimmerman

    if they bring the bowl ring Putin stole fine. otherwise No Vodka in America

    September 4, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  6. G

    i truly beleive republicans want something much bigger in syria ,they don,t get paid by the military industrial complex and haliburton for nothing and they see a door open .beware

    September 4, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  7. DG

    Way too many egos in one room from what I see!

    September 4, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. fedupwithit

    The whole point of diplomacy is to find a middle ground through dialogue. I am so glad that our arrogant, incompetent, entitled leadership has the wisdom to flat out deny the possibility.

    Can we please fire them all? All of them.

    Please?

    September 4, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. David Crowder MD

    Interesting ploy by Putin to undercut POTUS. No US senator or congressman has ANY business meeting directly with foreign powers, and any who does can rest assured that when his/her party next controls the Oval Office that president in turn will similarly undercut. For a legislator to engage a foreign diplomat seems a gross intrusion on the executive's authority to conduct foreign policy. If Obama needed any further reason to distrust Putin, this action is it. Maybe Obama will figure out that no foreign leader is ever a friend; an ally perhaps,sometimes,but never a friend.

    September 4, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    If Russia is their trading partner they need to step in and handle it

    September 4, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  11. Namebob sanders

    To wrong is wrong we as ametians done enough we need to stau out off it .micaul jackson said we are the world we gave enoght your turn others nation step up pay

    September 4, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  12. John

    Why not ask the Russians to force the Syrians to give control of their chemical weapons to UN for destruction instead of being lead by the Saudis again to bomb another Arab country. What good has come out of protecting the Saudi regime and killing other Arab leaders who fall out of favor with them: Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, etc. itt was Saudi citizens who hijacked those planes and crushed them into the World Trade Center. That killed more Americans than the Saudi planed gas attack in Damascus. I suppose it's true that they say once a Saudi brown nozer, always a brown nozer. So go bomb another nation that has fallen out of favor with the Saudis and protect the Saudi fundamentalist regime that uses the U.S. government as their puppet.

    September 4, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  13. Richard

    No doubt those members of Congress agitating for a strike on Syria remember the Russian pogroms.

    September 4, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  14. Joe

    "the chemical weapon shells are very much different from the standard Syrian army weaponry and extremely similar to those made by the US-funded rebels who have been caught time and time again burning villages full of innocents."

    As mentioned on another news site, Russia has exposed the United States for providing the weapons that were used in this chemical attacks. How am I not surprised by this... and now the US government doesn't want to meet with Russia because they know they are in deep crap now... The only thing I can say is that the only reason the US government is trying to stick their nose into what happen, acting like they are going to stop it is because they are the ones that caused it to happen by providing the weapons and they are trying to cover it up.

    September 4, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  15. Jay Gatsby

    American Democracy and it's Diplomacy at it's finest. Stupid people are going to run this country down, away with granpa Reed and grandpa McCain, there is a place for them in Assisted Living.

    September 4, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  16. waltcrosby

    Seeing as it is illegal for foreign nationals to lobby Congress, I would hope that he would turn down their request.

    September 4, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  17. Ilya Yankov

    What a stupid idea by Putin to send delegation from Russian Parliament to US Congress. Doesn't matter what kind of intelligence they will bring with them that may or may not prove weakness of Obama's administration belief that Asad regime was behind the attack – no congressman will change his upcoming vote from Yes to No after talking to the Russians – US congressmen want to be elected again and not be viewed as traders.

    September 4, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Pretty pathetic when the Russians make more sense than Americans. But that seems to be the trend now. WE NEED REGIME CHANGE here in USA. And I mean the WHOLE regime.

    September 4, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. John B Parungao, USNRet)

    There's great changed on Mr Boehner's attitude since he his action took office. For the first time he felt human for supporting the President. Godbless you Sir.

    September 4, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. John

    This is stupid.
    If he doesn't want to compromise with Russians, it's a much smarter strategy to meet with them and then reject their offers in a strong strong statements.
    Not meeting with them at all is just another indication of how unreasonable our politicians have become.

    September 4, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. John in sonoma

    It is unpatriotic to side with Russia to undermine the President of the United States of America no matter who that is. This whole Syria situation should be handled by the Russians if they don't want us to.

    September 4, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. hender1123

    These guys are playing with fire and we're the ones that are going to get burned. There's not a leader among them. If our enemies don't need an EBT card our politicians are out of options. They ignore our our own intelligence agencies and prance around making speeches made up of one whopper after another. History has taught them nothing. Every day brings us closer to WWIII and they offer us nothing in the way of solutions but are quick to tell us how stupid we are and that we should leave the business of politics to the experts. These bumbling idiots are the crew on a ship of fools.

    September 4, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. Harold

    Make war and we vote ALL of you out

    September 4, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  24. crispus attucks

    Congressmen,
    Listen patiently to the Russian delegation.
    Take whatever suitcases of cash they bring with them.
    Then burn the contents on the Capitol steps and vote to vaporize Assad and his fascist regime.
    You will go down in history as the best congress ever.

    September 4, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  25. Jay

    Awesome! My shipmates are about to be fighting for these bozos and they won't even talk to Russia, who is a serious naval threat in that region. We have no business there, if sailors are killed there we have no one to blame but the fools in Congress, Senate, and of course you Obama.

    September 4, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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