Senators push back on Russian official's candidacy for Interpol president

A group of U.S. senators is urging the Trump administration to oppose a Russian official's candidacy to lead Interpol.

"Interpol electing Major General Alexander Prokopchuk as its new President is akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse," wrote Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Rubio's pragmatic thinking on China MORE (R-Fla.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Dem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe Coons after Russia probe: House Dems need to use power in 'focused and responsible way' MORE (D-Del.) Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Overnight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election MORE (R-N.H.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerJuan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget MORE (R-Miss.) in a joint statement.

"Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists," they wrote.

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The senators accused Prokopchuk, a veteran Russian Interior Ministry official, of being "personally involved in this intimidation strategy."

"If elected as President by the members of Interpol’s General Assembly on Wednesday, we have no doubt that Mr. Prokopchuk will further institutionalize the abuse of Interpol red notices and block ongoing efforts at meaningful reform," they added. 

Russia, however, argued that the senators' statement was tantamount to "a kind of election interference, the election held by this international organization," according to The Wall Street Journal.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Interior Ministry, Irina Volk, said in a statement that Prokopchuk's current post at Interpol and years in law enforcement confirmed "the trust and high appreciation of his activities in this international organization.”

She said Prokopchuk would "operate completely in the interests of the international police community" if elected.

Interpol confirmed to the Journal on Tuesday that Prokopchuk had been nominated for president of the global police agency along with a South Korean official, Kim Jong-yang. 

The elections for Interpol's presidency will be held Wednesday. 

Its last president, Meng Hongwei, resigned in October after he was arrested in China on charges of corruption.