WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A video of the late Senator John McCain, accusing Senator Rand Paul of “working for” Russian President Vladimir Putin, has resurfaced.
- The video was posted by the political action committee VoteVets.
- The clip resurfaced after Paul asked Secretary of State Blinken about the U.S. support for Ukraine to join NATO.
A video of the late Senator John McCain, accusing Senator Rand Paul of “working for” Russian President Vladimir Putin, has resurfaced. The video was uploaded by the political action committee VoteVets on Twitter on Tuesday.
In the March 2017 clip, the late Arizona Republican slammed the Kentucky lawmaker for contending that the U.S. backing Ukraine to join NATO influenced Russia’s invasion.
VoteVets captioned the video: “Just a reminder that John McCain called out Rand Paul nearly a decade ago as a Russian asset. He was then, and he is now.”
McCain said Paul “has no argument to be made. He has no justification for his objection to having a small nation be part of NATO, that is under assault from the Russians,” referring to Montenegro. “So I repeat again, the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.”
The accusation came after Paul blocked a bipartisan Senate effort to approve a treaty allowing Montenegro to join NATO.
The next day, Paul responded by saying McCain served in the Senate too long. “You know, I think he makes a really, really strong case for term limits. I think maybe he’s past his prime; I think maybe he’s gotten a little bit unhinged.” McCain died the following year.
Paul then explained Montenegro’s small size and the relatively insignificant military as the reason for the holdout.
“Adding a country with fewer than 2,000 soldiers to NATO is not in our self-interest. There is no national security interest that an alliance with Montenegro will advance. If we invite Montenegro into NATO, it will be a one-way street with the U.S. committing to defend yet another country,” Paul told Time.
The Senate ultimately passed the treaty with Montenegro, with 98 to 2 votes. Paul and GOP Senator Mike Lee of Utah voted against it.
McCain’s video resurfaced last week after Paul asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the U.S. support for Ukraine to join NATO.
“Knowing full well that Ukraine was unlikely to ever join NATO, since it had already been 14 years since they said they were going to become members, why was it so important last fall—before this invasion—to continue agitating for Ukraine’s admission to NATO?” Paul asked Blinken during a Tuesday Senate hearing.
Blinken responded, saying: “These are sovereign decisions for European countries to make and, of course, for the NATO Alliance to make in terms of making sure that a country that wishes to join actually adds value to NATO.” Referring to Russia, Blinken said that “one country can’t dictate to another the choices it makes about with whom it allies, its foreign policies.”
“While there is no justification for Putin’s war on Ukraine, it does not follow that there is no explanation for the invasion,” Paul continued. “You could also argue that the countries that it has attacked were…part of the Soviet Union.”
The Soviet Union was officially dissolved in December 1991. Ukraine has been independent, free of Russia’s control since August 2021.