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Rand Paul: Trump Should Be 'Lauded and Not Belittled' for Meeting With Putin

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) attributed the media firestorm over Monday's Trump-Putin summit to "Trump Derangement Syndrome" on CNN Monday evening, even as CNN host Wolf Blitzer displayed symptoms of an acute attack of the condition.

Paul repeated his defense of President Trump in an appearance on CBS Tuesday morning, saying that Trump should be "lauded and not belittled" for meeting with adversaries like Russia. Paul argued in both appearances that engagement with our adversaries has always been "a good idea."

Paul told Blitzer:

I think that what is lost in this is that I think there's a bit of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I think there are people who hate the president so much ... this could have easily been President Obama early in his first administration, setting the "reset button" and trying to have better relations with Russia.  And I think it's lost on people that they're a nuclear power.

They have influence in Syria. They're in close proximity to the troops in Syria. They are close to the peninsula of North Korea and may have some influence that could help us there.

The other thing that's lost, and people forget this completely, the Russians tried to help us stop the Boston Marathon bombing. We actually did help them stop a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg because we were communicating and exchanging information.

Paul again stated tha, because "people hate Trump so much, all of that is being lost."

Blitzer countered that the hysterical backlash was not a matter of hating the president, but was objective.

"It's a matter of what he did today, what he said today," Blitzer said. "He met with President Putin as you know for more than two hours. Unlike other presidents, especially on foreign soil, he blamed the United States for the bad relationship with Russia. He declined to back his own intelligence community for its assessment. He declined to support the U.S. law enforcement community."

Blitzer added, indignantly: "He continues to call the news media, a free press in the United States, the enemy of the American people. Has any other president in American history done anything like that?"

Paul replied that the intelligence community under Obama had proven to be untrustworthy -- people such as John Brennan, who actually voted for a Communist presidential candidate at the height of the Cold War, and James Clapper, who perjured himself before Congress.

"I’m talking about Dan Coats, I’m talking about Dan Coats, the current director," Blitzer interjected. He kept talking as Paul tried to explain his point.

"Wolf, if you’re going to interrupt me, we can’t really have an interview," he said.

"No, I just want to be precise. It's not Clapper, it’s not Brennan. It’s Dan Coats and Mike Pompeo," Blitzer insisted.