House to vote on resolution opposing Russia’s inclusion in G-7

The House is slated to vote Tuesday on a resolution expressing opposition to including Russia in future Group of Seven (G-7) summits, a move seen as a rebuke of President Trump‘s repeated efforts to include the country at meetings of the world’s top leaders.

The resolution, authored by Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.), formally disapproves of allowing Moscow to participate in G-7 summits “until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies.”

The measure is slated for consideration under an expedited process that requires a two-thirds majority for passage, indicating it’s expected to draw broad bipartisan support despite the clear intention of pushing back against Trump.

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The House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced the resolution by unanimous consent in late October, but only one Republican — Rep. John Shimkus (Ill.) — is a co-sponsor of the measure.

The resolution’s text references Trump’s efforts to add Russia back into the group at the close of the summit in France over the summer. At the time, Trump had announced that his Doral golf resort in Florida was a contender to host next year’s summit — a plan that was ultimately scrapped following criticism that it amounted to self-dealing.

Trump has argued that it would be appropriate to include Russian President Vladimir Putin at the annual summit because the other world leaders present frequently discuss issues related to Russia.

“Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him. Whether or not he could come psychologically, I think that’s a tough thing for him to do,” Trump said in August. “I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent.”

Trump earlier called for Russia’s inclusion in the G-7, saying that “they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

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Russia was expelled from the group — known at the time as the G-8 — in 2014 following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Since then, Russia has drawn ire from G-7 members by interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and poisoning a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom.

The House resolution states that since 2014, Putin “has continued to violate international law in Ukraine’s Crimea region and elsewhere, and has continued to undermine democracy and human rights both at home and abroad.” It also declares that the House “condemns the Kremlin’s assaults on democratic societies worldwide, including in the United States and other Group of Seven countries.”

Sires introduced the resolution in late August shortly after Trump expressed renewed support for having Russia back in the group.

Consideration of the resolution will come shortly before the next stage of the impeachment inquiry gets underway with a Wednesday hearing by the House Judiciary Committee. Multiple Democratic members of that panel have long pushed for Trump’s impeachment based upon his attempts to undermine the investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian election interference.

The impeachment inquiry, as led by the House Intelligence Committee, has so far focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s government to investigate both former Vice President Joe Biden and a conspiracy theory — pushed by Russia — that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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