In the wake of soaring gas prices and Western sanctions on Russia, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggests it might be worth investigating whether the Russian government is backing “green alarmists” who advocate against projects that could boost energy production in the United States.
During an appearance on Newsmax TV, Paul was asked about a theory that Russia, the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas and third-largest producer of oil, is backing “green groups” pushing the U.S. government to act on climate change and suppress domestic fossil fuels industries. The theory is that a Europe lacking U.S. oil and gas imports would have to keep relying on Russian energy products.
In response, Paul said he found such allegation more plausible than the false “Russian collusion” story the Democrats used to undermine Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“Maybe we should get a special prosecutor. Maybe we need to spend about $100 million investigating [Vladimir] Putin’s contributions to the green alarmists in our country,” the senator said jokingly.
According to a 2019 filing (pdf) by the U.S. Justice Department, the nearly two-year probe of alleged Russian election interference cost about $32 million in total. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors ultimately found no evidence of conspiracy or coordination between Trump or his campaign and Russians.
“I don’t have any information. I don’t know if it’s true,” Paul continued. “But can you imagine, there’s probably more truth to that than any of the BS they put forward about trying to connect the Russians to the Trump campaign.”
When asked about rising gas prices—which continue to break new records at the national, state, and local level—Paul said this issue is just a part of the inflationary effects of the Biden administration’s massive spending.
“Inflation is not complicated,” he said. “What happens is we spend money we don’t have and the Federal Reserve prints money to buy the debt. When they flood the country with all this new money, when we pass out free stuff and free checks to everybody, it’s not free. We’re paying the penalty now.”
Paul’s comments come as President Joe Biden, while pushing plans for addressing climate change by curbing the scale of domestic oil and gas drilling, signed an executive order to ban Russian energy imports in an attempt to take away Russia’s ability to fund its military offensive against Ukraine.
“We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” President Joe Biden said in a statement announcing the ban on March 8.
“This is a move that has strong bipartisan support in the Congress and, I believe, in the country,” Biden added. A group of 17 members of Congress, including 2 Democrats and 15 Republicans, voted against a similar measure.