- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The White House said Wednesday President Trump wrote a letter of introduction for Republican Sen. Rand Paul to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kentucky senator touted the letter earlier Wednesday morning, saying he was “honored to deliver a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration.”

The White House later clarified that it was written as a means of introduction for the senator, who wanted to meet with Mr. Putin.

“At Senator Paul’s request, President Trump provided a letter of introduction. In the letter, the President mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement to pool reporters.

Mr. Paul shared that the letter promoted Mr. Trump’s desire to work with Russia on “countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges.”

News of this letter comes as Mr. Trump continues to tout his good relationship with Russia.

After the Helsinki summit, Mr. Trump invited Mr. Putin to visit Washington in the fall. Mr. Putin extended a similar invitation to Mr. Trump and said he was prepared to come to the U.S. as well depending on the conditions.

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle responded to the invitation with concern. At a press conference, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Mr. Putin would not be welcomed on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Paul became one of the president’s staunchest supporters in Russian affairs after the Helsinki summit. He repeatedly praised Mr. Trump’s efforts to establish a dialogue with the Russians, saying it prevented World War III.

On Monday, Mr. Paul announced that he worked on securing an agreement with Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian Federation Foreign Affairs committee, to send a delegation of Russian government officials to visit Congress.

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