McCain: Rand Paul 'working for Vladimir Putin'
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain planning 'intimate memoir' of life with John McCain Trump-McConnell rift divides GOP donors Arkansas state senator says he's leaving Republican Party MORE (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday accused Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Health Care: 50 million coronavirus vaccines given | Pfizer news | Biden health nominees Rand Paul criticized for questioning of transgender health nominee Haley isolated after Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.) of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin after he objected to a treaty related to Montenegro.

"He has no justification for his objection to having a small nation be part of NATO that is under assault from the Russians," McCain said from the Senate floor. 

"The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin."

The flashpoint came after McCain asked for unanimous consent to set up a vote on a treaty on Montenegro joining NATO, but Paul objected.

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Under the Senate's rules, any one senator can object to a unanimous consent request.

McCain warned before he asked for consent that any senator who objected was "carrying out the desires and ambitions" of Putin.

Paul argued that the U.S. is already stretched thin militarily. 

“Currently, the United States has troops in dozens of countries and is actively fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen (with the occasional drone strike in Pakistan). In addition, the United States is pledged to defend 28 countries in NATO," he said in a statement. 

He added that "it is unwise to expand the monetary and military obligations of the United States given the burden of our $20 trillion debt.”

Under NATO's Article 5, member states agree to defend any NATO country that is threatened by force.