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McConnell: Russia shouldn't be allowed to rejoin G-7

McConnell: Russia shouldn't be allowed to rejoin G-7
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said that Russia should not be allowed to rejoin the Group of Seven (G-7) after President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE floated allowing Moscow back into the group earlier this month.  

Asked during a Politico Playbook interview if Russia should readmitted into the G-7, the Senate GOP leader replied: "No."

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin yearns for the old days and acts like it," McConnell added. 

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McConnell's comments come after Trump sparked backlash by suggesting, before leaving for a G-7 meeting, that Russia should be included in the group's economic talks. 

“With that being said, Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump said at the time. "Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?"

Russia was ousted from the then-Group of Eight in 2014 in order to punish Moscow for annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Trump's warmer rhetoric toward Moscow, dating back to his presidential campaign, has sparked skepticism from Democrats, as well as Republicans. Congress passed new sanctions on Russia in 2017 despite pushback from the White House. 

McConnell's Playbook interview comes as a group of GOP senators is poised to visit Russia at the end of the week.

White House national security adviser John Bolton is also in Russia this week to discuss a potential meeting between Trump and Putin, which media reports indicate could take place next month. 

McConnell added on Wednesday that he doesn't "think there's anything wrong" with Trump and Putin meeting. 

"We met with Russian leaders during the Cold War. So I have no problem with that," he said.