Montana Public Radio

Republicans Pressed Russians On Elections, Daines Says

Jul 9, 2018

U.S. Senator Steve Daines says one of the main points he and other Republican members of Congress expressed to Russians during a visit to that country last week was, "Don’t interfere in our elections."

Daines returned from his trip to Russia last Wednesday. During the trip, Daines said he was told by the United States Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, that US - Russia relations are at a post-Cold War low.

Daines says Russian officials denied any wrongdoing.

“They denied virtually everything that we confronted them on. Starting with interference in U.S. elections. And we put a strong message, a strong marker, saying you better not interfere in the 2018 election.”

Sen. Steve Daines.
Credit Courtesy photo

Daines says the delegation also requested the Russian government to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine, and to work with the U.S. in bringing peace to Syria. He says U.S. officials also expressed concern about perceived violations of a nuclear weapon treaty.

The U.S. delegation’s visit to Russia precedes a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month.

The trip to Russia ended in time for Daines to join Trump’s Air Force One flight out to Montana for a rally last Thursday in Great Falls.

When asked by a reporter Monday during a press call, Daines said he talked to Trump about Montanans concern about mounting trade conflict with China over tariffs.

"And I shared, just some concerns I hear from Montana farmer and ranchers. Our  farmers and ranchers, as I engage with them, they are glad to see China’s unfair and very heavy-handed trading practices, including stealing our intellectual property outright, has to be confronted. The concern, of course, is that we don’t want to see a large trade war break out that would harm U.S. Agriculture, and more specialty, Montana agriculture.”

Talk of the growing trade conflict between China and the U.S. was not mentioned during President's Trump's rally last week.