First on CNN: Russians turned down, again
September 5th, 2013
05:28 PM ET
5 years ago

First on CNN: Russians turned down, again

Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has turned down a Russian request to meet with him to discuss Syria, his office tells CNN, making it unclear if any U.S. lawmakers will sit down with a planned delegation from Moscow.

This comes less than a day after House Speaker John Boehner similarly turned down a request from the Russian government to meet.

A spokesman for the Russian embassy would not comment on the declined requests. “We are still working on the visit,” Maxim Abramov told CNN.

The rebuffed requests come as President Obama is meeting with G-20 leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, in St. Petersburg. Russian leaders have been outspoken in opposition to U.S. military action in Syria and said that they planned to try to lobby against the mission by directly meeting with members of the U.S. Congress.

But so far, no U.S. lawmakers have indicated that they will meet with them when they arrive.

Filed under: Congress • Syria
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Terry

    America, if the vast majority truly does not want the US to mess with Syria then why are you not in the streets protesting? If it is so important, then you need to get off the internet and into the streets to peacefully protest.

    September 5, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. yo!

    Putin does not recognize Obama.

    September 5, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. The truth

    Go USA for strike.

    September 5, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Eric B

    I really hope If america escalates so does russia, i doubt america is wiling to fight russia again

    September 5, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Chris

    If someone gassed your children...what would your position be?

    September 5, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Matt

    The US absolutely should not ignore Russia. We can't just take our government's word for it anymore. The reality is that no one has given one good reason why Syria would use chemical weapons. On the other hand, Putin is dead on correct when he says that it is utter nonsense that they would use them as any 5th grader could have guessed what would happen – the US would want to attach Al Assad and here we are. If Al Assad wanted to kill people he could do that easily without interference from the US or anyone else just like the last couple of years by using machine guns and other conventional arms. Al Assad isn't so stupid to use chemical weapons. OK, he's not a good guy, supports terrorist organization like Hezbollah et al but he doesn't have a death wish and doesn't want to wind up like Libya and Iraq.

    Can someone in the government please address why in the world it makes more sense that Syria did this and not one of the many terrorist groups operating inside its borders to make it look like they did knowing that the US would use any excuse to launch an attack. This is 'utter nonsense'!!!

    September 5, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  7. Matt

    Last time I checked the United States wasn't a Dictatorship and Congress should be meeting with other governments and utilize diplomacy to collect the evidence to make the smartest decision. We can go forward without the support of the United Nations, or we can wait (since most countries haven't completely said no, they just need more evidence) and we can get the support of the United Nations and work with Russia and other world powers to get to the bottom of the issues in Syria.

    September 5, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. Mikey

    chuck – "Sorry Franklin, Obama has already shown he is weak and that may be why they are turning to the Speaker of the House (Boehner) and now Senate Majority leader (Reid) for talks. Obama is a failure at every level!"
    Exactly wrong. The President is showing strength in response to Putin, who is trying to push us around. Putin is now trying to go around the President. Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid are doing the right thing showing a unified front.

    I hate war, but I cannot believe that we may sit by idolly after gas attacks in Syria. Our inconsistent foreign policy has been a problem for a long time. We egg people on to oppose our enemies and get weak in the knees when they need support.

    Invading Iraq was beyond stupid and Congress should have never given Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld the authorization, even if they expected (because they were told) it would be used as bargaining power and an invasion would only be a last resort. They should have known the neocons were itching to invade Iraq. This is a totally different situation. I know we are war weary, but have we completely lost our moral compass?

    September 5, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Danny

    @ Picnick The republicans turned down the meeting with the Russians yesterday. You might want to make sure you know what you're talking about before you just start bashing your fellow Americans because their political views are different. This is America, we all get a say, and if you want to live in a country where only one group gets a say.. I'm sure you could get a nice slab of sand real cheap in Syria right now.

    September 5, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Alan

    We need to keep the channels of communication open with our more important ally. It shows the depth of diplomatic depravity infecting the GOP, and I'm very disappointed in Reid for turning his back diplomatically. The sooner he tenders his resignation the better. He is a disgrace to diplomacy!

    September 5, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. mom

    do you think it is enough mistakes made? Do not give weapon in wrong hands. Remember Taliban in Afghanistan shooting Americans with american's weapons. .

    September 5, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Mother Russia

    It wouldn't matter if you had footage of Assad personally beheading children, Russia will never support this.

    September 5, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. Gary Vey

    Putin wanted to come and address Congress about his July meeting with a certain Saudi Prince who threatened to let the Chechen rebels commit terror acts during the upcoming Olympics in Russia. The Saudi wanted Putin to allow the Assad regime to fall so that Qatar and Israel could build a pipeline for natural gas to Turkey and the EU market. Putin believes the Saudi supplied the sarin gas to the rebels and had recorded the threats and leaked them to a British newspaper where parts of the transcript were published.(aw heck... this will never make the censors at CNN). If by some miracle of free speech you read this, check it out for yourself. And NSA? The coffee has been made, come on in!

    September 5, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. Practicalman

    The Russians probably want to trade Snowden for agreement not to bomb Syria.

    September 5, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. DJC

    Russians suffered 20 million casualties in WW2, 4 million in WW1.
    Little wonder that they don't think gassing a few hundred Syrians is a big deal.

    September 5, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. james r.

    During the last 6 months Syrian 'freedom fighters???' have been involved in three known Sarin gas incidents. The first occurred on March 26th, 2013 in the Aleppo suburb of Khan-al Assal killing 26 persons, injuring 187 civilians, Sarin gas was made of materials not utilized by Assad forces, & was delivered by a home made rockets employed by extremists. A second attempt happened on May 30th, 2013,when Turkish security forces seized Syrian 'freedom fighters?' carrying a 2 kilogram cylinder of Sarin gas, which said Terrorists planned to in an attack on the city of Adana Turkey. A third and final assault came on August 21st 2013, according to Carla Del Ponte Member of UN Independent Commission Inquiry on Syria, testimony gathered from casualties, as well medical staff Rebel Forces were responsible for the attack. What has happened to 'investigative reporting at CNN? Don't you ever get tired?? of being a worthless Obama hand-puppet!

    September 5, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Joe from Virginia

    I'm amazed at how bound and determined some of our leaders (i.e. Obama, Boehner, Pelosi, Lindsey Graham, and McCain) are to get us into Syria against the will of the people. I don't like the Russians – but wouldn't it make most sense to work with our friends and rivals like Russia to get some sort of resolution to this Syria crisis? Our President and people like McCain are only making it worse. It's bad enough that our government spies on our allies and law-abiding citizens – of course, it's far worse that we, the US, are now acting like some sort of petulant aggressor that lacks the backbone to back up what it says.

    September 5, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. tupperhouse

    No mention of the 100 page report by the Russians to the UN showing the sarin was ignited by a western chemical and the shell casing etc. are not used by the Syrian army. However their report didn't go to the press rather it went to the UN investigative agency

    September 5, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Richard

    Wow, our government is making friends, basically telling the russians, they dont care what real facts they have and kicking the british out because they wont go to another unwarranted war.

    Way to go guys

    September 5, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. ScottyHOMeY

    Sad, isn't it, that our congress has the reputation that even the Russians. who are not naïve, expect to be able to come in and lobby them to stymie the President?

    I hope our congress continues to resist their advances.

    God help us if the Russians offer money.

    September 5, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. Anthony

    Why are we not meeting the Russian delegation? Don't we want to listen to both sides on Syria? I also hear that John Boehner also turn down an invitation to the Russians. It sounds like we have made up our minds and only want to hear one truth?

    September 5, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. Rose

    Remember what would happen to anyone foolish enough to taunt the playground bully. Now what do you think will be the reaction after weeks of challenges and taunts and then an attack directed at a homicidal despotic maniac? Washington pols are nuts if they think he won't retaliate.

    September 5, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. justme

    If they are bringing the Super Bowl ring with them, send Aaron Hernandez to meet with them.

    September 5, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. Olaf Big

    Whether they meet with the Russians, or not does not matter. Russians won't go along with the attack on Syria without ironclad proof that Assad used sarin, or another chemical that qualifies as WMD, and such proof is clearly not forthcoming. Our president has "red-lined" himself into a corner, and has to play tough. Good thing is that even the republicans are cautious about hitting Syria, because they are not sure how this is going to play out politically. I bet Obama privately hopes that Congress will not support the attack, and he will be off the hook, just like David Cameron of Great Britain.

    September 5, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. justanaverageguy

    Don't think the russians like Obama much.
    Can't allow them to sidestep the president in any case.

    September 5, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
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