Republican senator from Kentucky caught helping Russia — and it wasn’t Moscow Mitch this time
Senator Rand Paul speaking at the 2013 Young Americans for Liberty National Convention at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been highly criticized for blocking the U.S. Senate from voting on election security bills.

One intelligence expert suggested McConnell's position occurred because of a "bribe" from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has promised to build an aluminum smelting plant in Kentucky.

The bluegrass state's other Republican senator, Rand Paul, is now also going to bat for Russia -- and the same promised plant in Kentucky may have played a role.

"Advocates for a massive Russian natural gas pipeline project have a powerful, quiet ally in Congress: Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and close friend of President Donald Trump. He has quietly worked against sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, which would dramatically expand Russia’s shipments of natural gas to Germany," The Daily Beast reported Friday. "On Thursday, the senator postponed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s mark-up of legislation that would have put sanctions on the project, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the committee’s proceedings."

"When the Treasury Department sanctioned the Russian aluminum conglomerate Rusal and its parent company En+ Group, global aluminum markets veered into chaos. Treasury then made a deal with the company to reduce oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s control over it, and lifted the sanctions. But the decision to roll them back drew vocal opposition on the Hill, and 42 Senators voted to keep them in place. Several months after that effort failed and the sanctions were lifted, news broke that Rusal would make a major investment in an aluminum plant in eastern Kentucky–the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and of Sen. Paul," The Beast reported.