Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) referred to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” on Sunday, less than 48 hours after Mueller unveiled indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officials behind a massive cyber attack to affect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election.
“If we have proof that they (Russia) did it, we should spend our time protecting ourselves instead of having this witch hunt on the president. I think we need to be done with this so we can protect our election.”
The Kentucky Senator also became the latest Republican to downplay Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign, saying, “We all do it.”
“We all do it. What we need to do is make sure our electoral process is protected. They (Russia) are not going to admit it in the same way we’re not going to admit we were involved in the Ukrainian elections or the Russian elections.”
Politico’s Eric Geller pointed out that Paul appeared to be “equating public U.S. encouragement of pro-Western movements in Ukraine and Russia with covert, cyber-enabled 2016 election meddling.”
Paul also had sharp words for NATO on the heels of Trump’s unprecedented public rupture with it last week, saying the transatlantic military alliance deserves criticism for provoking Russian aggression.
“Well, what I would say is that there were people – probably the greatest diplomat of the last century was George Kennan, and he did predict that as NATO expanded you would incite militaristic tendencies and nationalism in Russia.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 15, 2018
“I wish President Obama had been more aggressive in pursuing it.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) accused Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin” in a speech on the Senate floor last year.