Russian diplomat seeks GOP senator's help meeting Pence, Cabinet officials

Russian diplomat seeks GOP senator's help meeting Pence, Cabinet officials
© Getty Images

A Russian diplomat has reportedly struggled in recent weeks to set up meetings with a plethora of U.S. lawmakers in the face of heightened tensions between the two countries.

Politico reported Thursday that Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov reached out earlier this month to Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Lobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage MORE (R-Utah) to ask for his assistance in developing contacts in the U.S. government.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I would be very grateful for your advice on how to develop contacts with members of U.S. Congress, departments and agencies, as well as for your possible assistance in setting up such meetings,” he wrote.

Hatch and a few other GOP senators, including Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 I'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back Rand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN MORE (Ky.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 I'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back MORE (Wis.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRepublicans, ideology, and demise of the state and local tax deduction Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force MORE (Tenn.), have met with Antonov. However, he has struggled to gain traction with numerous others amid a diplomatic standoff between Russia and the U.S. 

Politico reported that Vice President Pence, White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE and the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate have not responded to Antonov’s requests for a meeting.

U.S. lawmakers have taken a rigid stance against Russia in the wake of intelligence community findings that the Russians engineered an influence campaign during the 2016 presidential race. Intelligence officials have warned the country will likely do the same during the midterm elections later this year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. agreed with findings that Russia was most likely responsible for the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a military-grade nerve agent outside their home in Salisbury, England.

In response, President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE moved to expel 60 Russian officials from the U.S., as part of a coordinated effort with other countries to punish Moscow for the poisoning.

Moscow has denied its involvement in the poisoning and vowed to remove a number of diplomats from the U.S. and other foreign countries.