US Senator Rand Paul delivers letter from Trump to Putin

Clay Curtis
August 10, 2018

Russian officials were less happy, with a spokeswoman for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov complaining about the leaks, and saying they aren't clear how Russia can possibly talk to the U.S. when they can't keep even the content of negotiations secret.

Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, confirmed that a missive had been received "through diplomatic channels", and will soon be delivered to the president's administration.

Rand Paul to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Paul has been one of the president's most vocal defenders in recent weeks, defending Trump for appearing to accept Putin's denials of USA election interference.

The increased diplomacy between the two nations occurred after President Trump met with President Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in July.

"The document is a draft and that it could change", The Washington Post said, citing a White House official. In a release, his office said the letter was given to representatives of Putin because the Russian president has been out of Moscow all week.

"In the letter, the president mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin", White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

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The president has called special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Moscow a "witch hunt".

The tweet set off a flurry of speculation, given the controversy sparked by a Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki last month.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio wants a vote on a bill called DETER that would impose new sanctions if USA intelligence officials determine Russian Federation meddled in US elections.

The two countries are also at odds over Syria and Ukraine.

Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has continued to meet with Russian officials in Moscow this week along with visiting the USA embassy. Under pressure from Congress, which past year passed a tough sanctions law targeting Russia, the U.S. Treasury in April imposed sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs for election meddling and "malign" activities.

Last Thursday, Rubio and Van Hollen, noting the "urgency of the challenge before our nation", wrote to the chairmen of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations committees pressing them to hold hearings on the legislation before the start of an early August recess.

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