First on CNN: Russians turned down, again
September 5th, 2013
05:28 PM ET
11 months 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. Jerry

    Bad for you Intransigent Harry! What harm will it do to meet with the Russian delegation?! If anything, it may clear up some of Obama's and Kerry's, etc., etc. continuous lies.

    I have a gut feeling Mr. Boehner must have slurped some of that Obama Kool Aid. A real shame.

    Lets not forget that over 70% of Américans are against the invasion of Syria. What will the Teflon Kid (Obama) do now?!

    September 6, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. Anonymous

    It will be a sad day in America when ANY American Senator or Representative chooses to lobby with Russian delegates whose goal one presumes is to cause strive and friction in America. It is even sadder yet that there are Americans who actually opine this as an OK thing to have happen within our own borders.

    September 6, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    Amen Anonymous!!

    September 6, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. John Hastings

    Our country is bankrupt, there are no jobs, people losing their homes everywhere, here's a great idea, let's spend billions of taxpayer dollars to bomb a country that just bombed itself.

    September 6, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Really. This is getting really old really fast folks.
    What part of world leaders signed an agreement that said that there would be consequences if a country employed the use of chemical weapons do we NOT understand?
    This is the RED LINE THAT THE WORLD DREW and our President appears to be the only one willing to honor it.
    I personally would prefer that we too join those other "world leaders" and turn a blind eye but that's just a personal preference.
    I did not sign the chemical weapons agreement.
    BUT the leader of MY country did.
    It should be honored.

    September 6, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. dapper1

    The Russians need to mind their own business and go home and, while you are at it, find some courage to enforce the international ban on the use of chemical weapons in warfare. If enough countries showed some backbone, that's what would influence Syria. Russia could apply the pressure on Syria. Until you are ready to do that, get the heck out of the USA.

    September 6, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Wake up People!

    My sentiments exactly Dominican Mama!!
    Happy Friday!!!

    September 6, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. cbp

    The Russians appear to believe that they can get to meet with someone in the government. One thing is for sure they did not just decide to come on their own. So who gave them the idea and then who decided not to meet with them?

    The fact that the Russians are willing to allow the Syrians to use poison gas is very surprising. Is it just the government or are the people agreeing with this idea. Gas was used to kill so many during WWII and during other wars over the years. It is hard to believe that we would not do something to deter the use of poison gas like SARIN. Syria needs to know that their actions will meet with consequences from the World community. Once gas is used without impunity governments will decide it is okay to use it in other conflicts – civil wars or wars with their neighbors.

    September 6, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Dainimal

    This just seems odd to me that the Russians want to sit down and talk with the speaker of the house and the senate majority leader. Shouldn't they be trying to speak with the state department and/or the President himself? Seems like the Russian congregation is going behind the President's back to lobby for a no-vote on military authorization in Syria. This thing stinks if you ask me and I'm glad that we showed a united front on this one with both parties turning them down.

    September 6, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. Jerry Casaday

    The Russians are already on record as to their views, and find ways to demonstrate those, daily. Their naval task force, now coming together in the region, coupled with Mr. Putin's none-too-subtle remarks about both Secretary of State Kerry and President O'bama, are very obvious. And now a ship is bringing a "special cargo" into the area. What are we to make of that? No, we shouldn't have meetings with them. Maybe we need to reply to their actions by posting a "Notice to Mariners" for the eastern Med, warning them that the Syrians may be expected to begin lobbing missiles into that area when we strike them, and any Russian ships caught in the crossfire are on their own.

    September 6, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. greg

    we need to move as far away from syria as we can these rebles knew chem weapons would bring us beating our chest and looking to do the job for them. its not our problem let russia and china handle them but no we have to feed our war machine.

    September 6, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. St Xavier

    The first response I read comes from Jerry when he says ( it may clear up some of Obama's and Kerry's, etc., etc. continuous lies). When has the Russians ever told the truth an your saying WE lie. The only reason the Russians want to talk to our politicians is to muddy up the waters an cause more problems.

    September 6, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. crabapples12

    Do yourself a favor and ask who is more likely hiding something? Russia willing to go to the UN with 110 page report including testing of the gas used and delivery system all of which points to the rebels (cough al queda) in the March attack . OR the government which tells you they have all the proof, refuses to share it with the people or the UN and ask you to trust them? This attack was not the first chem attack in Syria, why do you think the UN weapons inspectors were already in Syria when the last attack happened?
    If you are Russia, why would you petiton the POTUS who has made his stance clear both domestically and internationally, when you can petition the group that is supposed to green light military action and are supposed to act on the will of the people they represent (who overwhelmingly don't want any part of this).

    September 6, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Oakspar77777

    The Russians want to talk to the American government and people, to make their case before someone other than Obama, who has done nothing other than insult them over and again.

    It is hard to fault them for wanting to reach out to America, and being unable to reach out to Obama, are looking for someone – anyone else – who might actually lend them a rational ear.

    I don't like the precedent – we have a Commander in Chief for a reason – and that, for once, actually is one of his duties and powers. However, given the stonewalling and ck-blocking provided by the current PotUS, can you fault them for trying to move around the system?

    September 6, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. NameIbrahim sorie

    Let us reflect our memories back what happen in Iraq,Afghanistan and most recently Trippoli Libya on military strike,The Obama govment must reason out to vote against military action

    September 6, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. scarf

    It is inappropriate for foreign policy negoitiations to be conducted with the legislative branch. Foreign policy is run out of the executive branch, with the advice and consent of the legislative branch. If it is approprate for the Russian government to discuss foreign policy issues with the leaders of the legislative branch (instead of the US ambassador to Russia, the Secretary of State, or the White House), then it is also appropriate for foreign governments to donate to the campaigns of their favorite legislators. Is that the bridge you really want to cross?

    September 6, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. skinsfan66

    Can you imagine the uproar from the DEMs if this were President Bush asking for their approval? He's be called a War Monger, a Murderer, a War Criminal and worse. Itn't it funny how the DEMs attitude changes depending on who is asking the question. And can you believe OBAMA denied HE drew the RED line even when the news media plays him saying it on TV. Now he says HIS credibility is not in question, it's CONGRESS's credibility that is in question. He's play his same old blame somebody else game he always does. How pathetic he is and how weak he has made the US in the eyes of the world. They laugh at us and him, because he truely is a joke.

    September 6, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Rupert

    How can we expect to get this resolved if we won't even talk? Amazing arrogance!

    September 6, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Tommy

    The problem is that we have a leader that is not capable of representing the US properly. He is far to inexperienced and does not have the military knowledge to handle the situation in Syria. He is a little leaguer playing professional ball. He doesnt understand that 90% of the leaders he is speaking with could chew him up and spit him out in a heartbeat....especially Putin. Obama needs to shut his trap and listen before he gets us in another war and puts our men and women at risk. He looks like a fool and is making the US look foolish and weak.

    September 6, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. vbscript2

    "It is inappropriate for foreign policy negoitiations to be conducted with the legislative branch. Foreign policy is run out of the executive branch, with the advice and consent of the legislative branch. If it is approprate for the Russian government to discuss foreign policy issues with the leaders of the legislative branch (instead of the US ambassador to Russia, the Secretary of State, or the White House), then it is also appropriate for foreign governments to donate to the campaigns of their favorite legislators. Is that the bridge you really want to cross?"

    Completely false. There's a very big difference between being able to meet with someone and being able to bribe them. Furthermore, it is not at all uncommon for congressional leaders (from both parties and both houses of Congress) to meet with foreign leaders and/or ambassadors. They do it all of the time. Perhaps you've heard of the congressional Foreign Relations Committees? Foreign policy is the responsibility of both the executive and legislative branches, though their exact foreign policy responsibilities vary.

    September 6, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Wake up People!

    The irrational hatred toward this duly elected and reelected President by the GOP/Tea party is the main reason Putin feels he can go behind President Obama's back and negotiate with those who hate him. That's a slap in the face to our very democracy. Can you imagine what would happen if the situation were reversed and President Obama tried that on Putin? The answer would be a resounding NO. But so many in our country hate our President for nothing more than the color of his skin. Oh they'll say it's his policies because they lack the nads to say how they really feel. Funny, he was hated by many even before he was elected. He was then ridiculed for any and everything within a week of his inauguration. I heard FOX calling him a failure within a week. Now which policies are we talking about?

    September 6, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Laura

    Is the same mistake that we think we know better than everyone else, already brought us to many costly and bloody mistakes in the past? Why not to listen others opinions and facts?!

    September 6, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. amperr

    The Russians are reading all of the hate-filled comments on these sites like this one and concluding that most of America hates Obama. They also believe that the right-wingnuts in congress would take any opportunity to embarrass the president. While these things may be true of some elected to the house of representatives, we should seriously consider recall votes for anyone that actually meets with them.

    September 6, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Don

    People, People. Read what you are typing. Take the time to think first. There is not reason to sit and talk with the Russians. They have made it pretty clear that they can not do anything to stop the syrian Military from acting as they have. They do not want the U.S. to send in missles that may take out the president. I do not want the U.S. to get involved either. We stand to gain nothing at all by stepping in alone. The Russians are a big Bluff and always will be. They realize that what ever happens it very well could cause someone to send a nuclear device into another country to get the war of wars started. That in fact could very well happen. This is a no win for anybody. We need to back down since we have no support from any other country. Walk or cruse away.

    September 6, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. JustUsBikers

    Whatever happened to diplomacy? Why is our government so quick to use the military instead of having dialogues with other countries like Russia? Perhaps Russia has personal agenda with talks! Talking is a less destructive than using military force to settle issues.

    September 6, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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