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. Natrldiver

    Wow, why am I not surprised. I am a conservative and think that the Speaker of the house is a buffoon. The American people and the world do not want another war. This administration is an epic failure.

    September 4, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. TheZel

    You rock, John.... tell em where they can stick it.

    September 4, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Born in USA

    obstructionists. israeli's wanted to gag the us from using diplomacy with nuclear weapons, now this.

    September 4, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Born in USA

    Is saudi threatening him if he talks to them?

    September 4, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. snawp

    I get it now.. At first I didn't understand why we were going to bomb Syria, but now I realize that part of is a tit for tat game starting with Snowden's asylum in Russia

    September 4, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. Sobieski

    Russia claims to have evidence the rebels are behind the gassing. Why on earth would our government be interested in discussing the facts before we decide to drop bombs??

    September 4, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. 1234

    Wait a second... wasn't it about a year ago Mitt Romney was blasted for saying that Russia was our "biggest geopolitical foe?" Hmmmmm.....

    September 4, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. divejoy

    Russia can only stand in awe to the greatness of our governmental system. Since the beginning of our system of Government we have had freedom and democracy from sea to shining sea. We all love it. And what of Russia, the PM a relic, of the KGB, a system where for only a few years ago was corrupt and inefficient. Show us then Mr. Putin your congress and we will show you ours.

    September 4, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Chase

    I think we can clearly see the path we are on. Our leaders care about one thing at the moment. Flexing their muscles. Their minds are just fogged up with power. Its a disgrace.

    September 4, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. billmelater1

    Why should he. He is a Democrat in RINO clothing.

    September 4, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  11. The Red Dragon

    They should have sent a letter and pretended to be a corporation who will make donations to their campaigns...that is the only sure way to be sure your voice is heard

    September 4, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. Dawn

    When House Speaker John Boehner refused the Russians it shows that he would rather be remembered as a warmonger, further hinder our relationship with Russia under this administration; he would rather have war than negotiate a peaceful resolution.
    What bargaining chip was he rewarded?

    September 4, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. Ken

    Yea, just when we need Russia's participation in the Syrian debacle Boehner aka idiot declines Russia' discussion. This Syrian MESS is going to result in a big Muslin backlash so hold on to your chairs my fellow citizens.

    September 4, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. ColoradoJoe

    it would be interesting if Boehner used it to his advantage. Like ask what its worth to Putin to keep US out of the Syria conflict. Would Putin be willing to go into Syria, and remove all of Assad's chemical weapons? What's it worth the Putin to ensure that Assad can't use chemical weapons... What's it worth to you Mr. Putin? Oh don't want to get involved? That would speak volumes.

    September 4, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. LilMuse

    Why would he refuse to talk? Obama is doing to same. What are they afraid?
    It is not wise to cut off communication with Russia.

    September 4, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. Steve - Texas

    They need to mind their own business.. If they are just as guilty of these women and childrens death... shame on them and shame on any Representative that meets with them...

    September 4, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. RillyKewl

    Nice try, Ruskies. Even Boehner isn't that big of a back-stabber.

    September 4, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. Nam

    Where the heck is so called permanent member of UN which is China. It is time to show its position on siriya. It's not just making money from trade with US. Else it is better to resign from UN permanent member.

    September 4, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  19. NameRB BADWIN

    Tell them to bring Edward snowden.

    September 4, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  20. joe

    Tell Them to bring Snowden too

    September 4, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  21. NameRB BADWIN

    Bring Edward snowden and super bowl ring

    September 4, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  22. TLORop

    Id like to think that meeting with Russian diplomats would be political suicide but it wouldn't be that surprised if some republicans agreed to meet.

    September 4, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  23. George DeVirgilio

    Meet with them. Dont be onesided like BO

    September 4, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. anonymous

    So our diplomats won't even consider talks, the very definition of diplomacy.
    What are we paying them to do? Engineers are paid to do engineering, accountants to do accounting, but diplomats are paid to be undiplomatic. Well, I have ears, but I simply won't listen to the american diplomats anymore. My ears are now designed for not listening.

    September 4, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. nodejong

    I think regardless of his personal feelings and – perhaps – the feelings of the majority of the House, think about the message that sends abroad. "We have evidence, but we will not discuss it with you...". The vast majority of the world already isn't too overly thrilled with the US playing the role of the police-force of the world albeit it the US is the only one that may have the resources so the rest of the world is reluctantly tolerating it. But the Speaker of the House flat-out refusing to talk to a Russian delegation about a major issue (possible, but ever more likely Chemical Weapons use) doesn't exactly signal a willingness to work with others and can easily come across as arrogant. And having had the opportunity to live outside of the US I can personally vouch for the fact that the world's view of the US's position on military intervention is very much one of arrogance. We – as self-proclaimed leaders of the free world – can and should do better.

    September 4, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
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