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 RubioSanders: 'Unfair to simply say everything is bad' in Cuba under Castro Democrats: It's Trump's world, and we're just living in it Cheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight MORE (R-Fla.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Graham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Del.) Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Health Care: Appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements | Pelosi's staff huddles with aides on surprise billing | Senate Dems pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Trump under pressure to renew last nuke treaty with Russia MORE (R-N.H.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders repeats with NH primary win, but with narrower victory Senators press NCAA on compensation for college athletes Overnight Defense: Inside Trump's 4B Pentagon budget | Highlights include .4B for Space Force, preview of Air Force One paint job | Senate eyes Wednesday debate on Iran war powers | 109 US troops diagnosed with brain injuries from attack 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.