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 ShaheenBrunson release spotlights the rot in Turkish politics and judiciary Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen Senators demand answers on Trump administration backing of Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (D-N.H.), according to Politico

Shaheen planned to depart for Russia on Jan. 11 along with Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator seeking information on FBI dealings with Bruce Ohr, former DOJ lawyer Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms Senate Homeland chair vents Mueller probe is preventing panel from receiving oversight answers MORE (R-Wis.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWhy grizzly bear hunting season isn’t happening Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Dems to force health care vote weeks before Nov. midterms 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 TillersonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Trump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser Haley’s exit sends shockwaves through Washington 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.