WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“Based on the White House and State Department readouts, it appears that the President and Secretary Tillerson were more focused on making friends with Minister Lavrov than confronting Putin’s envoy on Russia's troubling behavior. If the top issue in both meetings wasn’t Russia’s criminal meddling in American democracy, then the Administration is sending the message that hostile governments can interfere in American elections with impunity. It also adds to concerns that this Administration's ties to Russia are far too cozy.

“This visit seems to have been no more than a photo op and a wasted opportunity. I will continue to press for an independent commission to seek answers on the Trump-Russia Scandal and push legislation to punish those responsible for interfering in our election from overseas.”