If you enjoyed time away from home/work/news last week, maybe you missed reports of the Congressional Delegation that visited Russia over the Independence Day holiday. The visit by seven Senate Republicans and one Republican from the House of Representatives included Wisconsin’s Senior Senator Ron Johnson, who chairs the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation.
I have wondered for days why the trip happened, how that timing was set, what was discussed, and what (if anything) came from the visit with top Russian government officials. Having had no success getting comment from his office through Twitter, I was glad to find this interview he did with Byron York in the Washington Examiner where Johnson explains the content of the meeting.
According to his statements, the meetings focused primarily on claims of election meddling in 2016, claims which the Russians refuted by pointing to American expenditure on efforts to support democracy in Russia — election meddling by the US as they see it. Other topics included Russian occupation of Crimea and East Ukraine, US sanctions on Russia, and the tampering underway that could influence the 2018 midterm elections.
President Trump is scheduled for a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16. Perhaps the visit was laying groundwork for that summit, but why be there on the 4th of July? Read the story, then tell me: do you still have questions about the purpose and outcomes of this trip, or are you satisfied with Sen Johonson’s explanation?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your reactions and questions.