Politics

Rand Paul Blocks Bill Brimming with ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’

'Hatred for the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance,' Kentucky Republican tells Senate

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) accused his colleagues Thursday of allowing “Trump Derangement Syndrome” to damage the Senate as he rejected language from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) resolution urging President Donald Trump to submit himself to cross-examination by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ has officially come to the Senate,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “The hatred for the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance.”

Paul encouraged senators to give Trump a chance in trying to reset the United States’ relationship with Russia in the wake of the ongoing 2016 U.S. presidential election interference scandal. But Trump faced intense bipartisan backlash after making remarks during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, spurring the president to issue clarifications on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In particular, Trump emphasized Tuesday that he has “full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies” and has pledged to “repel” any future election interference attempts by Russia or others.

A separate Senate resolution offered support for the U.S. intelligence community’s findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and urged Trump to implement further sanctions against Russia.

The resolution also sought “prompt hearings and the release of relevant note[s] and information” about the Helsinki summit as part of congressional oversight. Democrats are angry because Trump and Putin had only two interpreters present in their private Helsinki meeting.

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“Does anybody remember that [former President] Ronald Reagan sat down with [former Soviet Union President Mikhail] Gorbachev, and we lessened the nuclear tensions?” Paul asked the senators. “We need to still have those openings. Nobody is saying or excusing Russia’s meddling in our elections. Absolutely. We should protect the integrity of our elections.

“But simply bringing the hatred of the president to the Senate floor in order to say, ‘We’re done with diplomacy — we’re going to add more sanctions and more sanctions.’ You know what? I would rather that we still have open channels of discussion with the Russians,” Paul continued.

The senator asked his colleagues if they should “be so crazy about partisanship that we now say, ‘We don’t want to talk to the Russians. We’re not going to have relations with the Russians.'”

“We should stand firm and say, ‘Stay the hell out of our elections,’ but we should not stick our head in the ground and say we’re not going to talk to them,” Paul continued.

As lawmakers continued Thursday to grapple with the Helsinki summit aftermath, Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz criticized the Department of Justice (DOJ) for announcing special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian officials on the Friday before the Helsinki event.

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“I think it was a terrible mistake for the Department of Justice to issue that indictment on the eve of a foreign-policy trip,” Dershowitz told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “The Justice Department is not supposed to be intruding on the foreign policy of the United States. They should have, on their own, held off.”

Dershowitz said the issue was the indictment’s timing, noting that the DOJ’s policy is “You don’t issue indictments just before an election, because you’re not supposed to be influencing policy. And embarrassing the president by issuing these indictments before he meets Putin was a serious blunder. The Justice Department should not have done that.”

Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers remain intensely frustrated with DOJ officials’ continued slow-walking the delivery of subpoenaed documents.

“Every option’s still on the table,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of both the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, warned Thursday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

“We want the information. We’re not getting the information. They haven’t complied with document requests. They haven’t complied with two different subpoenas,” Jordan said. “We’ve caught them hiding information.”

If Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein fails to comply, Jordan warned that “Everything is on the table. But we’ll see. If we get the information, then there won’t be that. If we don’t, then I think we look at attempt and possibly look at impeachment.”

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