Ky. Sen. Rand Paul invites Russian lawmakers to Washington

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Ky. Sen. Rand Paul invites Russian lawmakers to Washington

His summit with Putin in Helsinki was their first full-fledged meeting since Trump took office in January 2017. In addition, the respective security councils of the United States and Russian Federation have agreed to hold regular consultations.

Paul led a small delegation of Americans in a meeting at the Federation Council, Russia's equivalent of the U.S. Senate, with senators from the worldwide relations committee.

Paul was expected to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov during his visit. Our conversation further encouraged me that open dialogue between our two nations does not have to be a thing of the past.

The Kentucky Republican, who is leading a legislative delegation in the country this week, met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs.

"Engagement is vital to our national security and peace around the world", said Paul in a statement Monday.

Senator Paul recently defended the president's meeting, citing overlapping interests for both countries.

Marking the second USA congressional delegation to Moscow in a month - Senator Richard Shelby and a group of United States lawmakers held talks with senior Russian officials in July - Paul said that part of the objective of his trip was to promote greater dialogue between Moscow and Washington.

Monday's whirlwind visit to Moscow, however, was not part of official diplomacy. Trump later walked back the remark and said he trusted the US intelligence community's assessment Moscow did interfere.

Paul, known for some of his unorthodox positions in the Senate, has recently emerged as a champion of Trump's outreach to Russian Federation.

Trump has invited Putin to the White House, a move largely panned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Republicans spoke to their foreign counterparts in July, ahead of the Helsinki summit, to discuss several issues including Russian meddling in US elections.

Paul called the meeting an "important next step".

It was "opposition research", Trump said, not collusion. He's also the individual that fellow Republicans met with during their recent trip to Moscow on July 4 of this year. "All the Democrats are now happy that new sanctions are being introduced", Paul was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency. The bill would place restrictions on Russia's sovereign debt transactions, as well as oil and energy projects.

Paul said that Russian officials would discuss nuclear non-proliferation and combatting terrorism in Washington.

"We had general discussions about a lot of issues and basically we've decided that, right now, what we're trying to do is have dialogue", he said.

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