At Prayer Breakfast, Guests Seek Access to a Different Higher Power

Source: The New York Times

By Kenneth P. Vogel and Elizabeth Dias

 

WASHINGTON — With a lineup of prayer meetings, humanitarian forums and religious panels, the National Prayer Breakfast has long brought together people from all over the world for an agenda built around the teachings of Jesus.

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But there on the guest list in recent years was Maria Butina, looking to meet high-level American officials and advance the interests of the Russian state, and Yulia Tymoshenko, a Ukranian opposition leader, seeking a few minutes with President Trump to burnish her credentials as a presidential prospect back home.

Their presence at the breakfast illuminates the way the annual event has become an international influence-peddling bazaar, where foreign dignitaries, religious leaders, diplomats and lobbyists jockey for access to the highest reaches of American power.

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