Rand Paul applauded President Trump for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, days after 12 Russian officials were indicted for allegedly hacking the Democratic National Committee.
During a news conference in Louisville, Paul said dialogue with Putin would help build a better relationship between the U.S. and Russia.
“I think people who say we shouldn’t talk, I think are wrong. I think we should have conversations,” Paul said.
“I don’t expect a great deal to come of this. I think he can bring up that we are annoyed, that we don’t like, that we want them to cease and desist on interfering our elections.”
Paul’s comments came shortly before Trump criticized the investigation into Russian meddling during a joint news conference with Putin, calling the probe a “disaster for our country.”
In response to Trump’s remarks that he would rather “take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics,” Paul tweeted, “Glad to hear it.”
Glad to hear it. https://t.co/6IcAij85y4
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 16, 2018
Trump’s remarks have drawn fire from Democrats and Republican critics in Congress.
On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller unveiled 12 indictments of Russian military officials, alleging they hacked the Democratic National committee’s email servers and state election infrastructure before passing along embarrassing information to Wikileaks.
Paul downplayed the significance of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying that “most nations who can spy do.”
“Most nations who have the ability to interfere in elections do,” Paul said. “We should protect ourselves, which means making sure our electoral process is protected from any outsiders, whether it’s Russia or China or any country.”
Paul has voiced concern about overreach by the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling. In an interview with Fox News earlier this year, Paul said that “special prosecutors have too much power and that we really shouldn’t have them.”
In an op-ed published Monday Paul said he will visit Russia in the coming weeks “to discuss trade, cultural exchanges and how to better work for peace and prosperity in the world.”