Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul invites Russians to U.S. Capitol

Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul invites Russians to U.S. Capitol

"Nevertheless, your position in favor of developing dialogue that equally meets the interests of the United States and Russian Federation cannot but inspire respect", Kosachev said. The senator's trip follows Trump's controversial Helsinki summit with Putin last month, which he strongly endorsed.

Sen. Rand Paul on Monday invited Russian lawmakers to Washington after meeting Russian members of parliament in Moscow.

Paul noted that Russian lawmakers have not visited the U.S. Capitol in three years.

In a statement released by his office, Paul emphasized that "engagement is vital to our national security and peace around the world".

Among the Russian senators sitting across from Paul was Moscow's former ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, whose meetings with members of the Trump campaign provoked uproar in 2016.

Monday's whirlwind visit to Moscow, however, was not part of official diplomacy. Paul was one of the few Republicans who defended the president in the resulting backlash.

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It is unclear what, if any, implications the move has for existing trade ties between the two countries. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

Trump was criticized after the summit with Putin for supporting the Russian leader's denial Moscow was involved in meddling in the 2016 USA election.

Kosachev said the visit is especially valuable as some USA representatives are attempting to treat all contacts with Russian politicians as toxic ones.

Trump has invited Putin to the White House, a move largely panned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

It was "opposition research", Trump said, not collusion. "It does not mean we don't have differences". The trip also demonstrates the continued determination of certain members of the Republican Party to defend the Trump administration's attempt at warmer relations with Russian Federation.

This week, both Democratic and Republican senators introduced a bill that would impose the harshest sanctions yet on Moscow as punishment for its US election interference, as well as its activities in Ukraine and Syria.

Paul said that Russian officials would discuss nuclear non-proliferation and combatting terrorism in Washington. "The biggest issue right now is no dialogue".

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