Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s rebuke of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, saying the United States ought to be “protecting” itself from cyber attacks instead of “having this witch hunt on the president.”
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Paul called it a waste of time “saying [Russian President Vladimir] Putin needs to admit” that his spies hacked into Democratic email servers “and apologize.”
“He’s not going to admit he did it,” he said. “And we can’t take … on face value anything they tell us. … If we have proof that they did it, which it sounds like we did, we should now spend our time protecting ourself instead of having this witch hunt on the president.”
“If the president was involved, by all means put the information forward,” he said. “There’s no evidence so far for the president’s involvement at all in this. We need to be done with this and start actually protecting elections from foreign countries.”
He also echoed Trump’s criticism of former President Barack Obama, saying he wished “Obama had been more aggressive in pursuing” Russian election meddling.
“But the Department of Justice can get to the bottom of this without a special counsel.”
“The problem with special counsels is exactly what happened in the Starr investigation and that is that they run far afield,” he said, adding: “I think that in the end it’s too enormous of a governmental power.
He also criticized NATO’s “expansion” for provoking Russia.
“It’s not just interference in elections that I think has caused this nationalism in Russia,” he said. “Part of the reason is, we promised them… when Germany reunified, we promised them we wouldn’t go one inch eastward of Germany with NATO. “
“We would be at war with Russia right now if Georgia were in NATO,” he added. “People need to think through the things before they get so eager to rattle their sabres about wanting to have a confrontation with Russia. We spent 70 years trying not to have a confrontation.”
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