Vladimir Putin

Russia denies U.S. senators visas ahead of congressional visit

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement Tuesday Russia had refused to grant him a visa to visit the country as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation.

Why it matters: Murphy's statement comes a day after fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Russia had refused to grant him a visa. President Trump has been trying to press G7 members to let Russia rejoin the group, after it was disinvited in 2014 from attending the summit for annexing Crimea.

Trump says Russia is out of G7 because "Putin outsmarted Obama"

Trump and Putin at the G20. Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump claimed today that Russian President Vladimir Putin "outsmarted" President Obama when he annexed Crimea in 2014 and that Russia was expelled from the G8 because Obama was upset at having been outmaneuvered.

Why it matters: Trump wants Russia to be allowed to rejoin the G7 club, and he has repeatedly declined to blame Putin personally for the incursions into Ukraine that united the other G8 members against him. Trump said Putin had been "a good member of the G8" and that the world is better off with Russia "inside rather than outside."

Go deeper: Highlights from Trump-Macron press conference.