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. War Bird

    I say, give the Rebels all the high powered weapons they want. Then point them toward Damascus and let them loose.
    problem solved.

    September 5, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  2. Anno

    One can only hope that the Congress will listen to the will of the American people.

    September 5, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  3. Stoner

    Puttin I got some tube steak for you....

    September 5, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  4. James Armet

    Congratulations to Speaker Boehner. He made the right decision. No foreign government should be permitted to lobby against the policies of the President and the administration.

    September 5, 2013 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  5. Thomas Jefferson

    This whole concept of legislature that can block a Presidential decision is going to be a great epiphany to the members of both the upper and lower chambers of the Russian parliament who have come here to lobby our Congressmen on this issue. While the concept of overriding the President is so common here in the US as part of Partisan politics, in Russia such a vote will land you in the gulag.

    September 5, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  6. 07- 02- 1776

    Never trust a russian person working for the russian government. Let the legislators decide for our people and our nation's best interest.

    September 5, 2013 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  7. Rogue351

    STOP IT. America is not the worlds police. Russia and China would be great allies for America. The GOP / Tea Party cannot go on hating different groups based on OLD ideology. Hear that they have to say. If you dot like it walk away. But at the very least it sends the message that America is not above a legitimate talk. This is a typical GOP/ Tea Party move still living in the 1950 and wanting to return to those day. Get over it GOP / Tea Party YOU CANT go back. Deal with what you have and make the best of it for the rest of the nation that does not have the money to sail off to some island with millions in tax payer dollars and live happily ever after. The GOP / Tea Party has alot in common with North Korea, McShame more so an any other.

    September 5, 2013 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  8. Evergreen

    Statesmanship and diplomacy....a lost art.

    September 5, 2013 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  9. Anno

    "House leadership aide was less embracing, sarcastically replying, “Good luck to ‘em!". They are just aide, what are they being sarcastic about.

    September 5, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  10. eddy

    The Russians don't even listen to their own people....why on god's earth would America expect them to listen to America????

    September 5, 2013 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  11. John in Brooklyn

    Yet, will he vote WITH Russia and oppose the military strike on Syria?

    September 5, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  12. Ezejiofor Maduabuchi

    I love the action of the House Leader, his truly a man!!

    September 5, 2013 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  13. 1bogey

    Bonehead doesn't want to expose the tea baggers to a situation involving a thought process. It might be embarrassing.

    September 5, 2013 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  14. P

    We'll talk with them, yes we will, when Russia gives us back the Precious.

    September 5, 2013 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  15. Reality

    Why kind of Government refuses a diplomatic meeting that could save countless lives? Most likely a warmongering Government that has already made its mind up regardless of the facts.

    September 5, 2013 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  16. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The Israel lobby got to the orange Weeper and the GOBP first. They are puppets on their strings.

    September 5, 2013 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  17. Marie MD

    The rethugs/teatrolls are up to something. They are planning on how to make the President and the Democrats look bad. Darn if you darn if you don't.

    September 5, 2013 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  18. Tony in Maine

    Congratulations Mr Boehner. You did the right thing.

    September 5, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  19. Name@africansparrow

    Its ok to grant them audience, but I wonder why they decide to meet now, when they could have adviced Syria against the use of chemical weapon.

    September 5, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  20. Shawn

    The U.S. government doesn't even listen to its own people, why should it listen to a Russian delegation?

    September 5, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  21. GI Joe

    He can't stay out of the bars long enough to do his day job, much less have time to meet with furriners.

    September 5, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  22. Winston Smith

    What happened to the budget deficit? What happened to the underfunded Social Security Administration? Where are all the jobs we've discussed forever? And now, war number three. Again sold to the public as a limited engagement, with no military personnel placed in harms way. When, in the last forty years did we ever end violence with violence. Many people have given their lives (May God Bless Them All), yet little has changed. We don't need to be the peace keeper to the world.

    September 5, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  23. bob smith

    Very disrespectful. He could have at least met with them out of respect.

    September 5, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  24. talldarkfree

    It's really sad to say, but some of US Congress member hate Prez Obama so much, that they'll actually take bribes from the Russian Govt. Russia is the enemy. PERIOD.

    September 5, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  25. Name Uche Agonsi

    This is diplomacy, Congressmen should to keep open doors for such talks. Without talks, is feud or war.

    September 5, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
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