Sen. Rand Paul invited top Russian government officials to visit the USA later this year to continue a dialogue on important national security issues, he announced Monday.
Paul said in a statement that he met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Relations. Paul said the two "agreed on the importance of continued dialogue". "I invited the Russian Federation to send a delegation to the Capitol, and they have agreed to take this important next step", Paul said.
Paul, who traveled to Moscow this weekend, despite calls from political pundits to cancel the trip, has announced that he invited a delegation from Russia's upper house of parliament to visit the USA capital. Paul added that Russian and US lawmakers could also meet in a neutral country. He's also the individual that fellow Republicans met with during their recent trip to Moscow on July 4 of this year.
"They use the anti-Russian campaign purely for internal American purposes, the interests of the same elections campaign they are charging us with meddling in", Kosachev said.
Trump's Helsinki meeting was panned by a number of prominent Republican officials who said the president appeared to side with Putin over top US intelligence officials. "Meanwhile, my Trump-defending opponent Don Huffines made a decision to go on a Moscow adventure this week with Rand Paul instead, to "improve parliamentary relations" with Russian Federation". Additionally, the continued consensus of the United States intelligence community of a Russian desire to interfere in the midterms shows that Moscow remains a long-term risk to the USA political system.
Russian spy detected working at US Embassy in Moscow
In this December 2016 photo, Russian policemen stand guard in front of the US Embassy in Moscow. Punitive action, however, was not taken as the matter was being probed.
Paul suggested he did not believe raising the issue of election interference would have been productive in his meetings with Russian officials. Republicans spoke to their foreign counterparts in July, ahead of the Helsinki summit, to discuss several issues including Russian meddling in US elections.
He was one of the very few on Capitol Hill to defend Trump after the Helsinki summit.
"We had general discussions about a lot of issues", Paul responded.