USA senators, on Moscow trip, invite Russian lawmakers to Washington

Rand Paul invites Russian lawmakers to visit US

Greg Nash

Rand Paul said Monday Russian legislators have accepted an invitation to visit Washington, D.C.

Senator Paul will meet with his counterparts from the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

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

Kosachev said Paul "has access" to Trump and top U.S. officials "and we expect that we will be able to convey through him our signals" of a desire to establish dialogue, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news service.

"I think this is incredibly important, " Paul said after the high-profile sit-down.

"In meetings with Russian officials, Senator Huffines is having frank discussions, relaying Texans' concerns, and demanding that Russia stop meddling in our elections", said Brent Connett, chief of staff to Huffines. The Council Committee is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Sen.

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Mr. Paul was the only lawmaker on the trip, which was financed by the Cato Institute, a leading libertarian research organization in Washington. "They're not going to admit it in the same way we're not going to admit we were involved in the Ukrainian elections or the Russian elections", he said. The senator's trip follows Trump's controversial Helsinki summit with Putin last month, which he strongly endorsed.

During a news conference in Helsinki at the time, Trump declined to back the conclusion of the United States intelligence that Russian Federation interfered with the U.S. presidential election over Putin's denials, though Trump later said when he was back in the USA that he misspoke.

"Of course, Mr. Paul is yet to discuss these ideas with his colleagues after returning to Washington", Kosachyov said.

Trump endured days of intense bipartisan criticism for his performance at a joint press conference, where he cited Putin's "powerful" denials of Russian interference.

Sen. Paul defended Trump's meeting with Putin amid backlash from Democrats, establishment Republicans, and the mainstream media.

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