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Why Are Seven Congressional Republicans Meeting With Russian Lawmakers?

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth)

From Texas Standard:

Many in Texas and across the U.S. are trying to understand why seven members of Congress are spending their independence Day break in Russia, meeting with lawmakers and officials. The group, all Republicans, includes six senators and one member of the House, Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth.

Roll Call Senior Senate Reporter Niels Lesniewski says the congressional group did not provide many details about their plans for the trip.

“It was hard to figure out exactly what would be on the itinerary,” Lesniewski says. “...As it turned out, the headliner was [a meeting with] Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister [of Russia].”

Lesniewski says the visit was presented to the media as a prelude to President Donald Trump’s upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In public comments, the U.S. lawmakers expressed interest in forging a less adversarial relationship between the U.S. andRussia, even if the two countries cannot be “friends.”

But plans for the meetings in Russia were not fully disclosed before the trip, and Lesniewski says much of the discussion was not open to the media.

“One of the things that was really unusual about this meeting…” he says “was the really restricted press access that we heard of with the meetings with Russian lawmakers.”

Lesniewski suggests that members of the U.S. delegation may be avoiding public comment, or media appearances in an attempt not to hamper the work of the Trump administration as it prepares for the president's meeting with Putin.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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