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 ShaheenErnst: Intelligence agencies should question Trump’s interpreter, not Congress Overnight Defense: More Trump drama over Russia | Appeals court rules against Trump on transgender ban | Boeing wins Air Force One contract | Military parade to reportedly cost M Top Dem lawmaker pushing committee for closed-door debrief with Trump’s interpreter MORE (D-N.H.), according to Politico

Shaheen planned to depart for Russia on Jan. 11 along with Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOn The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal Juan Williams: Putin wins as GOP spins GOP senator: Harley-Davidson is right to move some production overseas MORE (R-Wis.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe law to protect endangered species in America is working Republican bill aims to deter NATO members from using Russian pipeline Overnight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms 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 TillersonThe Memo: Putin furor sparks new questions on Kelly’s future US steps up its game in Africa, a continent open for business Matt Drudge shares mock ‘Survivor’ cover suggesting more White House officials will leave this summer 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.