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July 16, 2013

Will Obama scrap Moscow visit over Edward Snowden?

The White House announced last month that President Obama would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow when he travels to St. Petersburg in September for the annual Group of 20 summit meeting.

But with U.S. and Russian officials a bit at odds over the fate of currently-marooned NSA leaker Edward Snowden, that visit may be up in the air.

Asked today whether the president's plans for the summit would be disrupted if Russia should decide to grant Snowden temporary asylum as he's requested, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney played it coy.

"The president intends to travel to Russia in September for the G-20 summit," Carney said, adding a tantalizing, "And I don't have any further announcements with regard to that travel."

Hmmm, reporters asked. Do his plans for Russia still include the Moscow leg that was only recently announced?

"I'm just saying that the president intends to go to Russia," Carney said. "Again, I don't have anything to add to our previous announcements."

The White House wants Russia to expel Snowden and return him to the United States: "Mr. Snowden has all of the rights that every American citizen charged with a crime in the United States has, and he should be returned here where he can stand trial and take advantage of those rights," Carney said. "So that's the conversation we're having with foreign governments; that’s the conversations we're having with our Russian counterparts."

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Mark Thomason

Those rights aren't what they used to be, observing Bradley Manning and some others "given" those rights. Therein lies the problem Mr. Carney.

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