Two senators scrap Russia trip after Moscow cancels fellow lawmaker's visa
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Two senators scrapped a scheduled trip to Russia after Moscow canceled a visa for fellow Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSupreme Court to hear online sales tax case State official indicates US military role in Syria post-ISIS centered on Iran Overnight Health Care: Dems press HHS pick on drug prices | Alexander, Trump discuss ObamaCare fix | Senate Dems seek B to fight opioids | Maryland eyes ObamaCare mandate replacement MORE (D-N.H.), according to Politico

Shaheen planned to depart for Russia on Jan. 11 along with Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators eager for Romney to join them The House needs to help patients from being victimized by antiquated technology Comey’s original Clinton memo released, cites possible violations MORE (R-Wis.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump’s infrastructure plan may slip to next month Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism Trump's infrastructure team to huddle with senators MORE (R-Wyo.), all three of whom sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to meet with Russian government officials.

Johnson and Barrasso canceled the trip when the Kremlin denied Shaheen's visa without explanation. 


Shaheen is a tough critic of Russia, and backed a bill earlier this year that levied new sanctions against the country for its meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. 

Shaheen also supported the State Department's move to force Russian news network RT to register as a foreign agent, following the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that the state-backed outlet could have been a part of Russia's 2016 online propaganda campaign. 

She also urged Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonDecline in US travel spurs business push for visitors Overnight Defense: GOP chair blames Dems for defense budget holdup | FDA, Pentagon to speed approval of battlefield drugs | Mattis calls North Korea situation 'sobering' Mattis: North Korea situation 'sobering' MORE in a bipartisan letter this spring to meet with Russian opposition activists during a trip to Moscow in April. 

An aide for the senator said she believes the Russian government blocked her travel.

"While she regrets the Kremlin decision to impede dialogue between the Senate and the Russian people, she vows to continue her work to hold the Russian government accountable for its actions that go against international norms and against the Russian people," a spokesman for Shaheen told Politico. 

Johnson called Moscow's move to cancel the visa "extremely unfortunate and counterproductive to improving relations between our nations" in a statement to Politico. 

All three lawmakers planned to meet with government officials and civic organizations to bolster U.S.-Russian relations.