Russia meddled in the 2016 election in part as a retaliation against the U.S. influencing elections in eastern Europe, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday.
“I think really we mistake our response if we think it’s about accountability from the Russians,” Paul told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union. “They are going to spy on us, do spy on us. They are going to interfere in our elections, we also do the same,” Paul said.
The comments, which come just a day before President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, show a realism that neither staunch Republicans or Democrats discuss, which is that Russia attempted various hacking and disinformation campaigns surrounding the 2016 election to discredit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I would say it’s not morally equivalent,” Paul said of Russia’s election meddling relating to America’s campaigns to influence foreign elections. “But I think in [Russia’s] mind it is. It’s important to know in your adversary’s mind the way they perceive thing. They react to our interference in their elections and one of the reasons they didn’t like Hillary Clinton, they found her responsible for some of the activity by the U.S. in their elections under the [Former President Barack] Obama administration,” Paul said.