US Senator Rand Paul delivers letter from Trump to Putin
US Senator Rand Paul delivers letter from Trump to Putin
Putin lobbied US President Donald Trump to control nuclear arms
11 August, 2018, 05:37
"We expect that in the nearest time it will come to the presidential administration", he said, according to Russian news agencies. Senator Lindsey Graham said additional sanctions needed to be tied up before President Donald Trump holds a second meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the USA leader came under heavy criticism for failing to confront Putin about interference in the 2016 election at a summit last Monday. But no new meeting has been scheduled and the White House said it was delaying a Putin visit to Washington until 2019, by which time it said it expects special counsel Robert Mueller's criminal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election to be completed.
Paul has been an outspoken proponent of engagement with Moscow, who has repeatedly voiced support for Trump's decision to meet with Putin in Helsinki last July.
But the White House didn't offer an explanation on why such a high-level communication between the two leaders was revealed through a senator's office and not the West Wing's press office, which is typically standard protocol.
The White House said Trump had provided Paul with a "letter of introduction" for his trip at the senator's request.
A Kremlin spokesman confirmed that the letter was delivered and was making its way to Putin. However, he undermined those remarks when he quickly returned to calling the special counsel's investigation a "witch hunt", and referred to Russian interference as a "hoax".
Paul's colleagues in the Senate from both parties introduced legislation last week to impose strict new sanctions on Russian Federation. "He is interested in legislative exchanges, parliamentary dialogue and cultural and educational exchange programs, increased counter-terrorism cooperation, building on recent successes like the disruption of the St. Petersburg plot and resolution of the military conflicts in Syria and Ukraine".
Paul, a member of the party's conservative wing who frequently takes antiwar positions, on Monday invited Russian lawmakers to visit Washington to discuss nuclear nonproliferation and terrorism.
The relationship has also created divisions within the administration. A meeting between Paul and Putin has not happened and isn't expected to happen at the moment.
Further U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation over alleged election meddling, Syria and Ukraine could lead to a deeper rift and are hurting Russia's rouble.
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