Rand Paul, in Moscow, invites Russian lawmakers to Washington

The Day After Trump Admits to Attempted Collusion, Rand Paul Invites Russian Delegation to Washington

Rand Paul says ‘big mistake’ not to have dialogue with Moscow, invites Russian MPs to DC

A prominent US lawmaker has said during a visit to Moscow that the United States needs to have more dialogue with Russian Federation and keep communication lines open. While there, Paul met with a group of Russian senators, members of parliament, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Russian Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Konstantin Kosachev.

"Engagement is vital to our national security and peace around the world", Paul said. "I invited the Russian Federation to send a delegation to the Capitol, and they have agreed to take this important next step", Mr. Paul said in a statement.

"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.

Kosachev heads up the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Paul sits on. After the Department of Defense announced the sale of $1.5 billion of arms to Saudi Arabia, Senators Paul, Chris Murphy (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are attempting to block the sale by using a provision of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 that "provides for special procedures whereby a senator can force a vote on an arms sale by the president".

"The conversation with U.S. politicians was about resuming close cooperation between the Russian Federal Assembly and the U.S. Congress", Slutsky told reporters after the meeting.

"The world is a complicated place, we are in close proximity to Russian Federation in Syria and other places, and I think it would be a very big mistake not to have open lines of communication", Paul said, adding that the goal of his trip was in part "to say that we need to have dialogue", including "more cultural exchange, more exchange between our legislative bodies, more open lines of communication".

And Paul is the only Republican lawmaker to stand by Trump during that controversy.

The Texas senator's trip comes during a tense time for U.S. -Russia relations.

Trump was heavily criticized by both Republicans and Democrats for being too deferential to Putin in his remarks and appearing to side with him over USA intelligence agencies' assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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

It was "opposition research", Trump said, not collusion.

Russian media also quoted Paul as saying that he invited members of the committee to Washington for talks.

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