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'Absolutely not,' U.S. Senate Republican leader says on admitting Russia into G7

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters following the Senate Republicans weekly policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday expressed firm opposition to President Donald Trump’s idea of readmitting Russia into the Group of Seven, even as he downplayed the significance of intelligence that reportedly suggests Moscow offered bounties to have U.S. forces killed in Afghanistan.

“It appears as if this is not a conclusion that’s been reached to such a level that might have even made it to the top,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in relation to the U.S. intelligence findings and whether Trump was aware of them.

Asked if Russia should be allowed back into the Group of Seven, McConnell said: “Absolutely not.”

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Lisa Lambert; Writing by Tim Ahmann