Tuesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul continued his efforts to decrease escalating tensions between the United States and Russian Federation by meeting with former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev to discuss how to improve relations.
Konstantin Kosachyov, the chairman of the International Affairs Committee, said at the meeting with Paul that efforts to mend ties are hampered by sanctions the United States has imposed in response to Russia's interference in Ukraine, its alleged meddling in the USA 2016 presidential election, and other actions.
The announcement comes just days after Mr. Paul's spokesman the senator planned to lead a USA delegation to Moscow. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, on a trip that The Washington Post described as "a bid to increase engagement with the country".
Trump's Helsinki meeting was panned by a number of prominent Republican officials who said the president appeared to side with Putin over top USA intelligence officials.
The senator, once a foe of the president, has emerged as a unique and somewhat renegade voice, coming as both Republicans and Democrats criticize Trump for not taking a tougher stance against Russian Federation.
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The Kentucky Republican and 2016 presidential hopeful flew to Moscow this week to lead a legislative delegation in support of President Donald Trump's diplomatic outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kosachev said the visit is especially valuable as some US representatives are attempting to treat all contacts with Russian politicians as toxic ones.
Paul is a key supporter of Trump's controversial interactions with Putin, heralding the leaders' Helsinki summit last month as exactly the sort of action Washington should be taking to mend ties between the two.
Trump has invited Putin to the White House, a move largely panned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
"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.