Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s (R-Ky.) office indicated Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not invited to Congress if he visits Washington, D.C., this fall.
“There is no invitation from Congress,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said in an email to The Hill.
Foreign leaders traveling to Washington to visit the White House are generally extended an invitation to Capitol Hill. French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, delivered an address before Congress during his trip to D.C. in April.
McConnell’s office weighed in on a possible Putin visit after the White House said Thursday that President Trump had asked national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to Washington for a second meeting this fall after the two leaders met in Helsinki on Monday.
Senate Republicans are generally opposed to the prospect of another Trump-Putin meeting so soon after the pair’s one-on-one meeting in the Finnish capital this week, which sparked controversy after Trump appeared to side with Putin’s denials over the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
The two presidents met privately for nearly two hours before holding a joint news conference. It’s unclear what the pair discussed, and lawmakers have pressed the Trump administration for answers on any potential agreements from the meeting.
Several GOP senators criticized Trump’s comments during the press conference with Putin, followed by days of scrutiny over Trump’s views regarding Russia’s election meddling.
Trump sought to walk back his comments on Tuesday, saying that he believes in the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the election, adding “could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”
BY JACQUELINE THOMSEN – 07/19/18