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United States senator presents letter from Trump for Putin
08 August 2018, 10:36 | Glen Norman
Putin lobbied US President Donald Trump to control nuclear arms
Sen. Rand Paul delivered a letter from President Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin's staff during a trip to Moscow, the lawmaker announced Wednesday, the latest surprise diplomatic overture to the Kremlin at a time when the two countries are locked in an intensifying dispute over Russian election interference.
Last month, Trump extended an invitation to Putin to come to Washington, D.C., but both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) were adamant that he would not be welcome at the Capitol.
"The letter emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges", Paul said in a statement.
The meeting last month was also attended by the Russian Foreign Ministry and a U.S. delegation led by Thomas Pickering, former Undersecretary of State.
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Paul, who defended Trump in the wake of his summit with Putin last month in Helsinki, has been visiting Russian Federation with a delegation for several days.
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Paul has been in Russian Federation this week on a trip he sees as a continuation of Trump's diplomatic outreach to Putin.
"I was honoured to deliver a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin's administration". Trump sparked outrage by accepting Putin's word over that of his intelligence agencies at a Helsinki news conference.
Paul said Trump was right to talk to USA adversaries and called the criticism directed at Trump a reflection of "how unhinged people are in their hatred for the president". He also held talks in Moscow with parliamentarians and pledged to block new sanctions against Russian Federation. A reported text of the draft bill published on Wednesday sent Russia's rouble to lows against the dollar last seen in April.
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