116 House Republicans defy Trump to condemn Putin

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Even Republicans think Russia should be excluded from future G-7 summits 'until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors' — something Trump himself has fought against.

One hundred and sixteen House Republicans voted for a resolution on Tuesday calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin for occupying Ukraine and for Russia's assaults on the United States and other democracies.

The resolution, which passed 339-71 on Tuesday, was offered by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ). It noted a series of violations of international law by Russia "in Ukraine's Crimea region and elsewhere" and the regime's repeated efforts to "undermine democracy and human rights both at home and abroad."

As a result, its authors urged, Russia should not be included in "future Group of Seven (G7) summits until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies."

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The resolution's 46 co-sponsors included 45 Democrats and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL). Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, praised the measure in a floor speech, saying "This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It's an American issue."

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) also enthusiastically backed the resolution.

The G-7 — formerly the G-8 — stopped inviting Russia to its annual summit in 2014 after it invaded Ukraine. Donald Trump has repeatedly called for Putin to be reinstated in the exclusive group.

Over the summer, Trump reportedly clashed with the other G-7 members, interrupting discussions on Iran and fires in the Amazon rainforest to complain about Russia's omission.

Republicans' decision to condemn Putin is curious given the broader decision by many in the GOP of late to push Russian propaganda in defense of Trump.

Despite consensus among the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was responsible for the 2016 election interference campaign, several Republican lawmakers have claimed in the past few weeks that Ukraine was in fact responsible — an attempt to justify Trump's decision to withhold critical aid from Ukraine and dangle the possibility of a White House meeting to force the country to investigate his political rivals.

Those actions are currently at the center of the House impeachment inquiry.

As multiple officials have confirmed, the claim that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election is a conspiracy theory favored and pushed by Putin himself.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.