‘No evidence of Russian intrusion in US political system’ - fmr US presidential candidate Ron Paul
The focus of a meeting between Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday was the de-escalation of the Syrian conflict.
Despite the positive overtones, the American media preferred to take a different angle focusing on the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections and the firing of the FBI chief James Comey.
RT: Sergey Lavrov says President Trump wants productive relations with Moscow after the previous administration soured them. Can they be improved considering the storm over the alleged ties between the Trump team and Russia?
Ron Paul: Absolutely. And I think that has been. What is going on right now is an improvement. I think what is going on in Syria with these de-escalation zones; I think that is good. They are talking to each other. I just don’t understand why sometimes there is an impression that we shouldn’t be having diplomatic conversations … All the tough rhetoric doesn’t do any good. Trump’s statement to me sounded pretty good. I think the whole thing about the elections, putting that aside would be a wise thing because the evidence is not there for any intrusion in our election by the Russians. I think this is good progress, and there will be plenty individuals in this country who complain about it because it just seems like they are very content to keep the aggravation going. Right now, the relationship from my viewpoint has greatly improved. I think that is good.
RT: During the media conference, some journalists again raised the question of possible Russian involvement in US politics. How is it possible for such a great nation to think this way?
RP: If it is a fact, we should hear about it, but we haven’t. And those individuals who are trying to stir up trouble like that, they haven’t come up with any facts. Nobody wants anybody’s elections interfered with. But the facts aren’t there, so why dwell on that? Why use that as an excuse to prevent something that we think is positive and that is better relations with Russia. I think what is happening with this conversation is very beneficial.
Unfortunately, Trump’s opponents have been able to frame the issue in Washington and also we have a compliant media that is playing into the hands of his opposition. He has made a good point that the [allegations of Russian interference] does look like fiction. I am certainly prepared to believe that Russia had some interference in the election. But can we see a single fact? We haven’t seen a single fact of it. The media reports it as if it is true. Trump has a very difficult row to hoe if he wants to improve relations with Russia; he is going to have to take a stand and refute some of these things a lot more vociferously than he has. - Daniel McAdams, executive director at Ron Paul Institute
RT: According to Lavrov, Trump also expressed his support for creating safe zones in Syria. Will this pave the way for co-operation between the two coalitions?
RP: With Assad and Russia working together and getting more security for the country, at the same time the US is now talking with Russia. I think this is good. But just the acceptance of the idea that we should be talking and practicing diplomacy rather than threats and intimidation. There are obviously a lot of problems that we have to work out, but I think in the last week and the last couple of days very positive things have been happening.
Elements of our media have made a big deal about contacts Sergei Kislyak [the Russian ambassador to the US] had with various members of Trump’s transition – and I may add, other politicians, both Democrat and Republican, after all, that is his job as an ambassador to our country to interact with elements of our government... Over here in the US, we talk about the need for fair and balanced coverage. When the reality is in the mainstream press, it is all hard-left, Democrat-favoring Republican-conservative bashing press. - Charles Ortel, political commentator, private investor, writer
RT: The meeting came after the firing of the FBI director James Comey. What do you make of the timing?
RP: I don’t think that firing had anything to do with the so-called investigation. I think it has to do with the credibility of Comey as such, where he was involved too politically in the issues. First, it looked like he was supporting Hillary, then the next time he was supporting Trump, and he should not have been out in front on either one of those issues; that should have been done more privately on these charges made that were unconfirmed. I think this represents poor judgment on Comey’s part and certainly, the president had the authority to fire him. It will be politicized now, and the question will be whether there will be a special prosecutor, but if there are no problems, then a special prosecutor in my estimation is unnecessary.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.