Actor Steven Seagal reportedly attempted to set up a congressional trip to the southern Russian region of Chechnya but a group of hesitant lawmakers backed out at the last minute.
Seagal, a martial artist known for playing action heroes, reportedly laid the groundwork for the House trip, officially known as a CODEL, an investigation connected to last month's deadly Boston Marathon bombing that claimed the lives of three people and wounded hundreds others.
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The terrorist attack was allegedly carried out by brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Chechen Muslims who grew up in Russia's Kalmykia region.
Seagal apparently developed a relationship with both Russian President Vladmir Putin and Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov
years ago, Politico reported.
"The CODEL’s visit to Chechnya was facilitated by Steven Seagal," Tara Setmayer, a spokeswoman for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., confirmed to Politico.
Rohrabacher is one of six House members originally scheduled go to Chechnya, including Representatives Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Bill Keating, D-Mass.; Steve King, R-Iowa; Paul Cook, R-Calif., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., ABC News reported. Seagal reportedly planned to accompany the group before it was cancelled.
"[Seagal] has an established friendship with Putin and others in the Russian government and assisted in accommodating the CODEL’s request to visit the region," Setmayer said.
The trip was cancelled after some officials expressed dissent about traveling into a region ruled by Putin, considering the Kremlin-backed strongman's human rights record, Poltico reported.
When asked why the trip was cancelled, all six of the Congress member's offices declined to comment, citing congressional security rules about foreign travel.
The U.S. State Department declined to comment on the issue, and attempts to contact Seagal’s talent agencies went unreturned.
Having been photographed alongside Kadyrov in the Chechen capital of Grozny in early March, Seagal reportedly took part in several initiatives with Putin recently, including a fitness campaign.
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