Politics

Rand Paul was in Russia on Monday and invited Russian officials to meet with members of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Paul met for an hour with Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Russian Federal Council Committee on Foreign Affairs.

According to a video posted by Russian state media outlet RT, Paul said that the goal of his trip was to promote greater dialogue between the countries.

“I am one who believes in more engagement, that we need to have more cultural exchange, more exchange between our legislative bodies, more open lines of communication,” Paul said.

“The world is a complicated place. We are in close proximity to Russia in Syria and other places. I think it would be a very big mistake not to have open lines of communication.”

Kosachev heads up the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Paul sits on.

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

Paul’s trip comes after he was one of the few to defend President Donald Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month.

With Putin by his side, Trump questioned U.S. intelligence findings that Russians had meddled in elections and called investigations into the matter a “disaster for our country.”

Paul has been one of Trump’s most outspoken supporters following the summit, saying that critics have “Trump derangement syndrome.”

Trump has invited Putin to D.C. as well.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.