Politico reported a couple of weeks ago that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was playing golf with Donald Trump when the senator volunteered for a diplomatic mission. The idea, evidently, was for the Kentucky Republican to serve as some kind of emissary to Iran, a job that would entail a private discussion with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during his trip to New York for U.N. meetings.
Asked about this, the American president initially said he didn't "know anything about that," but a day later, Trump seemed to confirm the reporting. "Rand asked me if he could [get] involved," he told reporters, referring to Iran policy. "The answer is yes.... We'll see what happens."
The Daily Beast reported this morning that Rand Paul may not be the only GOP senator getting "involved" in the administration's failing policy toward Iran.
President Trump wants a new deal with Iran to replace the nuclear agreement he pulled out of, and he's turning to one of his most hawkish confidants to help do it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is working in close coordination with senior Trump administration officials who focus on Middle East policy to find an alternative to the Obama administration's Iran deal, four people with knowledge of the efforts tell The Daily Beast. Part of that effort includes fielding ideas from outside actors, including foreign officials, two of those sources said.
It's worth emphasizing that this reporting hasn't been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News. That said, the South Carolina lawmaker didn't exactly deny the story.
On the contrary, Graham spoke to The Daily Beast about his discussions with the president and Trump administration officials, explaining his recommendations.
Right off the bat, there's the obvious concern about the senators' competence and credibility in this area. For example, in 2015, during delicate international talks, both Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul signed onto their party's infamous sabotage letter to Iran, urging Tehran not to trust the United States.
The GOP senators' efforts failed, the agreement was reached, the policy worked exactly as intended -- in the process, making the Republicans' gambit look just a little worse.
But even putting that aside, there's the curious matter of Trump getting guidance on Iran from Graham and Paul simultaneously.