President Trump has been exchanging letters with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and now he’s beginning a letter exchange with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul has delivered a letter from Trump to Putin’s administration while he is in Russia, he said Wednesday.
He tweeted Wednesday morning: “I was honored to deliver a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration. The letter emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges.”
I was honored to deliver a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration. The letter emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 8, 2018
Paul traveled to Russia on Monday where he met with officials, and extended an invitation for them to visit Washington.
“During an hour-long meeting today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) secured an agreement from Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, to send members of the Russian Federation to Washington, the first trip from the Russian Federation to the U.S. Capitol in almost three years, to continue dialogue on vital issues such as nuclear non-proliferation and combating terrorism,” a statement from the senator’s office said.
“Engagement is vital to our national security and peace around the world. Today, I met with Chairman Kosachev, and we 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 in the statement.
Paul also visited with American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Paul may come under fire for his involvement with Russia, given the tensions between the U.S. and Russia following the summit between President Trump and Putin, as well as the indictment of 13 Russian officers for hacking activities in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
President Trump has encouraged a diplomatic approach with Russia, involving peaceful talks instead of aggression or politics. This approach, however, has not been well received by American voters.
“Canny diplomacy between the world’s greatest power and all our near-peer competitors— among which Russia is chief — is perpetually necessary,” said a report by The Hill on Tuesday. “It is necessary because on some issues, like preventing terrorism, avoiding nuclear catastrophe, and fostering stability in the greater Mideast, the United States and Russia share interests in common.”
Last month, Paul spoke about the necessity of a diplomatic relationship with Russia.
“Does anybody remember that Ronald Reagan sat down with Gorbachev and lessened the nuclear tensions? We need to still have those open talks,” he said, according to Real Clear Politics.
“Nobody is saying or excusing Russia’s meddling in our elections. Absolutely, we should protect the integrity of our elections. But simply bringing the hatred of the president to the Senate floor in order to say, ‘We’re done with diplomacy, we’re going to add more sanctions and more sanctions’…” Paul said.
“We don’t have to have war, we can still have engagement…” he added.
“The crucial thing to understand during Paul’s tour this week and when future U.S.-Russian visits hopefully develop is that talking is not weak,” The Hill report said. “Diplomacy is not the opposite of toughness. It is the result of a clear-eyed understanding that foreign relations are painted in shades of gray, that negotiating with reprehensible people and regimes is often the least bad option. In this case, it is our difficult but imperative route away from war.”