05:38 GMT +323 January 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump is trying to inveigle Russia into joining a reconstituted Group of Eight (G8) to gain more leverage during negotiations with other member states, House Majority Whip Steven Scalise said in an interview on Tuesday.

    "He [Trump] might… get a little bit more leverage in these other negotiations," Scalise told Politico when asked about Russia returning to the group.

    Scalise also said, despite the call for reinstituting a G8, Trump is at least willing to stand up for the United States against Russia’s aggressive policies in Eastern Europe.

    READ MORE: Trump's Calls for Russia's Return to G8 May Lead to Division in Europe — Berlin

    Ahead of the G7 summit in Canada last week, Trump told reporters that Russia should return to the group given its role in world affairs. Other G7 member states, however, including Canada and Germany, were unconvinced by Trump’s arguments.

    Responding to Trump’s call for Russia’s return to the G8, the Kremlin said that Moscow focused on other formats of negotiations. On Friday, Russian upper house international committee chief Konstantin Kosachev said that Russia will set its own conditions for returning, which would include the lifting of sanctions.

    The leaders of the G7 major advanced economies — the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada — gathered in Quebec for a two-day annual summit on June 8-9. The group used to be called the G8 before Russia's membership was suspended in 2014 after the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis.


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    G8, G7, Donald Trump, Russia, United States
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