Dallas state Sen. Don Huffines, along with his twin brother and former Dallas County GOP Chairman Phillip, spent much of Monday in Russia. It wasn't a well-publicized trip — both brothers' social media accounts are bereft of any mention of the excursion — but as photos and stories began to populate the wire about U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's conciliatory trip, there were both Huffines' faces.
Paul's delegation, according to The Washington Post, met with several Russian senators, including former Russian envoy to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, a key player in special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Rather than talk about his role on such an important trip, Don Huffines' Facebook page featured a video of him practicing this morning to throw out the first pitch at a Rangers game.
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After local reporters sussed out the senator's whereabouts, his office issued a statement, confirming the trip. Huffines wanted to talk to the Russians in person about election meddling, his office said.
"Don Huffines regularly hears from Texans who are concerned about the security of our elections, and who are alarmed by Russia's efforts to undermine our democratic institutions," said Brent Connett, Huffines' chief of staff. "In meetings with Russian officials, Senator Huffines is having frank discussions, relaying Texans' concerns and demanding that Russia stop meddling in our elections. Don Huffines believes in the power of face-to-face conversations, even with antagonists."
Senator Huffines' opponent in November's general election, Democrat Nathan Johnson, told the Observer that he didn't understand why Huffines would take a trip to Moscow in the midst of campaign season.
"I don’t know why Senator Huffines decided to go to Moscow," Johnson said. "I prefer to be here in Senate District 16, talking to constituents about issues that matter to them."