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POLITICS: PennAve

Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer pressure Obama with resolution criticizing Russia

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A bipartisan pair of senators want President Obama to pressure Russia to turn over fugitive spy Edward Snowden by lobbying for the September G-20 summit to be moved out of Russia.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a resolution Friday asking the Russian government to hand Snowden over to U.S. officials. The resolution criticizes Russian President Vladmir Putin for “negatively impacting bilateral relations with the United States” by harboring Snowden. It aslo encourages the U.S. government to “consider all economic and diplomatic options” to capture the former government contractor.

The lawmakers are pressing Obama to recommend a venue for this fall’s G-20 Summit, scheduled to be held in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The gathering of the world’s leading economic nations is highly anticipated by Russia, which assumed presidency over the G-20 for the first time last December. A website promoting the event even includes a countdown to the Sept. 5 gathering.

“Enough is enough,” Schumer said. “It’s time to send a crystal clear message to President Putin about Russia’s deplorable behavior, and this resolution will do just that.”

Graham, who called Russia “one of the bad actors in the world,” previously suggested that the U.S. should skip the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics to protest Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Snowden saga. The White House and House Speaker John Boehner have downplayed chances of a boycott as a possibility, but Graham remains adamant that more dramatic steps are necessary.

“It is past time we send a strong message to President Putin,” Graham said.

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