Rand Paul Continues to Toe the Pro-Russia Line, Asking to Lift Sanctions on Key Officials

Rand Paul Continues to Toe the Pro-Russia Line, Asking to Lift Sanctions on Key Officials August 17, 2018

His journey from outspoken Trump critic during the primaries to obedient Trump toady in the Senate seems to be near completion.

And while I defended the man when a psychotic neighbor violently attacked him, causing serious physical injury, I have to say, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will not have my support in this.

Paul’s latest, inexplicable show of fealty to his former primary adversary follows a trip to Moscow, where the senator met with several Russian officials, and returned parroting President Trump’s lines about the Russia probe “witch hunt.”

Now, he’s also looking to have those Russian officials relieved of the sanctions placed on them by Congress.

Paul didn’t specify who specifically he would ask be removed from U.S. sanctions lists. 

But Paul met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, during his trip to Moscow. Kosachev was targeted during a new wave of sanctions announced earlier this year.

Paul’s trip to Moscow raised eyebrows in Washington, where many of his colleagues have been skeptical of Trump’s warmer stance toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Senator Paul appeared on the Trump friendly outlet of Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program, The Ingraham Angle on Thursday night, ready to make the case for relaxed sanctions.

His goal is to get certain officials into the United States for meetings.

According to Paul, members of both bodies of Russia’s legislature are ready to visit Washington, but the sanctions are keeping that from happening.

“They have both agreed to come to Washington in the fall for further meetings. That’s a good thing. The downside is the chairman of each of the committees is banned from coming to the United States because of sanctions,” Paul told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham.

Meanwhile, Senator Paul seems to be acting outside of the will of GOP leadership, in this case.

Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have expressed, through spokesmen, that there has been no invite, nor do they plan to extend an invite to their Russian counterparts, at this time, to visit Washington.

Earlier this month, Kosachev also expressed a desire to set up a meeting in Washington.

“The issue at hand is trying, perhaps, to organize a new meeting, this time at the level of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee during the autumn session, that is, before the end of this year,” he told Russian state media at the time.

The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker has echoed the same sentiments as that of Ryan and McConnell, saying that there has been no invitation extended, on behalf of the committee.

That being said, it’s not as if Senator Paul is completely on his own.

 Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who traveled to Moscow last month, said there was an interest in developing a “task force.”

“Identify half-a-dozen legislators on both sides that meet on a regular basis, develop a relationship, so you can really have an agenda,” he told The Washington Examiner.

Johnson was one of a group of GOP lawmakers that spent the July 4th weekend in a secretive meeting with Russian officials in Moscow.

He wasn’t the only one willing to consider having sanctioned Russian officials on U.S. soil.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) also feels it’s worth a shot.

“That’s been fairly traditional … but I guess it had been more or less suspended for the last couple of years. … I think it’s fine for adversaries to talk. I think that’s better than not talking,” he said.

There’s some merit to that notion. When there is conflict, you want to come to the table and attempt to resolve differences.

This conflict, however, is different.

Not only did Russia attempt to interfere in a U.S. election, but they actively sought (and still seek) to turn American against American, provoking outrage and chaos by using social media and a host of Russian “bots.” Every intelligence agency agrees this has happened, is still happening, and the Russian government refuses to own up.

It’s a new face of a new Cold War, and the idea that there are U.S. politicians willing to overlook their corrosive tactics a pass is disturbing.

We need somebody in Washington to hold up a piece of paper and wave it around, again. Maybe that’ll get their attention.

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  • Polarbearpapa

    11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.

    Jeremiah 8

  • IllinoisPatriot

    This latest capitulation by Rand Paul to the progressives and liberals in the Senate (and WH) is the final straw for me. Rand Paul will not longer get any support from me no matter how much “good Paul” he may claim to present on behalf of his libertarians.

    When the Russians failed to get the Obamas to lift the Magnitski Act sanctions (I know it’s misspelled), they attempted to get those sanctions removed by helping Trump into office thinking they could deal with Trump: Get him elected, then use him as one of their assets after election. What that is working to a large extent, the Russians have found themselves blocked by US Intelligence Agencies that went to Congress and the FBI and the resulting Mueller probe and Public Congressional hearings where some of their actions during the 2016 election were made publicly known – worse – their Social Media activities were exposed and started to turn the public opinion against them.

    Now they appear to be attempting to bribe, blackmail, or intimidate Congress members to “switch sides” and to help Trump lift or bypass the sanctions. We see a growing laundry list of Congressional Senators and HOR Reps that are more and more openly advocating for exceptions (which would quickly eliminate the teeth of the sanctions) or for outright lifting of the sanctions instead of any intent or movements by the Russians to simply change their behavior which would result in automatic ending of the sanctions.

    When US Congresscritters go to Russia – is that not an ideal situation for them to be bribed / brainwashed / fooled into believing the Russian narratives ? When the last batch returned, they mentioned that it’s about all the Russians talked about – how “the sanctions were not hurting them at all, so why not get rid of the sanctions ?”. Now Rand Paul comes back and openly takes the yoke of advocating for lifting sanctions from Trump. Trump has been caught in so many lies and the Trump Tower meeting is blowing up in his face. Trump’s personality is such that he will likely react badly toward Russia and blame them for the Trump Tower meeting blowing up – particularly if it results in significant fodder for Mueller’s investigation (like it appears it may).

    With Trump no longer a sufficient (or reliable ?) asset to the Russians, they are apparently feel the need to recruit more senior US government “leaders” and appear to be attacking Congress. Unfortunately for us, I’m absolutely sure there is lots and lots of Kompromat available on almost every one of our incumbent Congresscritters that Russia could expose during elections to get what they want. Rand Paul may not be under threat of blackmail, but he is certainly starting to act as if he is. It’s just not yet certain who is pulling his strings (he proved that he’s an opportunist with no strong principles when he backed Mitch McConnell for re-election during the TEA Party waves) . Blackmail is CERTAINLY not below Trump, Trump associates or the Russians and I have a feeling that the Russian psy-ops are heavily involved in selecting Congressional members to “recruit” to help them get those Russian sanctions lifted.

    For a bunch of sanctions that “are not hurting the Russians”, there sure is a big, coordinated push to get them lifted……..

  • Isn’t that the truth.

    “It was Jeremiah’s lot to prophesy at a time when all things in Judah were rushing down to the final and mournful catastrophe; when political excitement was at its height; when the worst passions swayed the various parties, and the most fatal counsels prevailed. It was his to stand in the way over which his nation was rushing headlong to destruction; to make an heroic effort to arrest it, and to turn it back; and to fail, and be compelled to step to one side and see his own people, whom he loved with the tenderness of a woman, plunge over the precipice into the wide, weltering ruin.” ~Dr. W. G. Moorehead, Studies in the Prophecy of Jeremiah