McConnell’s Spokesman Says Putin is Not Invited to Congress

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesman said on 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 that are visiting Washington and the White House are almost always invited to Capitol Hill as well. French President Emmanuel Macron in April even delivered a speech before Congress during his trip to D.C.

McConnell’s office made remarks on the possible Putin visit after the White House said Thursday that President Donald Trump ordered his national security adviser, John Bolton,  to extend an official invitation for a second meeting this fall. The two leaders met in Helsinki on Monday.

Almost all of the Senate Republicans are against another Trump-Putin meeting so soon especially after the meeting in the Finnish capital this week 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 had a private meeting for nearly two hours before holding a joint news conference.

It’s unclear what they were talking about, and lawmakers from both parties 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 attempted 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.”

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