- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2018

Rand Paul will head a U.S. delegation Monday to meet with Russian members of parliament, a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican confirmed on Thursday.

Senator Rand Paul is a proponent of diplomacy and is supporting President Donald J. Trump in engaging around the world. He looks forward to his meetings,” his press secretary Sergio Gor told The Washington Times.

Reuters initially reported the visit Thursday morning.

Russian agencies said Konstantin Kosachov, who heads the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, announced the meeting.

Mr. Paul has not yet confirmed Reuters’ report.

In July, the Kentucky senator penned an op-ed for Politico saying he planned on venturing to Russia.

“In just a few weeks, I will take my own trip to Russia in an attempt to discuss common ground with their leaders and help prevent further, unnecessary escalation of tensions,” Mr. Paul wrote. “We will discuss trade, cultural exchanges and how to better work for peace and prosperity in the world. I look forward to consulting with Trump between his visit and mine and to working with diplomats from both countries to have a successful trip and better relationships.”

Mr. Paul was one of President Trump’s staunchest supporters following the Helsinki summit. In the face of harsh bipartisan backlash, Mr. Paul repeatedly called for the president to be praised for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The trip will be the second time a group of Republican members of Congress meet with their Russian counterparts. Several GOP lawmakers journeyed to Moscow in July, just a few days prior to Mr. Trump’s summit with Mr. Putin.

The first visit addressed several topics, including Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Mr. Putin strongly denied the American intelligence community’s findings at the Helsinki summit, but top defense and intelligence officials all agree the Russian threat is ongoing.

No details have been released yet as to what will be discussed at the upcoming meeting.

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