President Donald Trump has so far done nothing to address the top threat facing America, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in which he vowed to have the Senate do what Trump has not.
McCain said Russia is America’s “premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS”.
“I think ISIS can do terrible things. But it’s the Russians who tried to destroy the fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election,” he said.
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McCain said although there is no evidence that Russia actually affected the outcome of the election, he is angry that Russia continues its meddling abroad.
“They just tried to affect the outcome of the French election. So I view Vladimir Putin — who has dismembered Ukraine, a sovereign nation, who is putting pressure on the Baltics — I view the Russians as the far greatest challenge that we have.”
McCain said that administration has not put Russia in its place by retaliating, and said that Congress would need to act.
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“We have done nothing since the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin’s attempt to change the outcome of our elections. So, way to go Vladimir. We haven’t responded at all,” he said.
“Hopefully when we get back from recess the Senate will enact sanctions on Russia,” he added.
McCain, who has been a frequent critic of the president said he shares the feelings of those who are nervous over Trump’s handling for foreign policy.
“I am nervous from time to time,” he said. “I do believe that the President has great confidence in the national security team. I do believe most of the time that he accepts their advice and counsel. Can I tell you that he does (that) all the time? No. Does it bother me? Yes, it bothers me.”
However, he did say Trump compares favorably to former President Barack Obama on the issue of responding to Syria.
“I believe if you’re looking at the standard of what actually happens versus what is said, then I’ll be glad to compare Donald Trump to Barack Obama – including the latest when chemical weapons were used, and we saw these dead children – at least we saw cruise missile strikes in retaliation,” McCain said.
McCain said that the issue of Russian connections to the Trump campaign, and whether the firing of former FBI Director James Comey is relate to the investigation of those links, are major distractions that must be overcome.
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“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this FBI issue and the whole issue of the Russians, it’s a scandal of significant proportions and it’s going to be with us for quite a while,” he said.
“I hope we can separate that issue and all its ramifications from the need for us to win in Mosul, to win in Afghanistan, win in Raqqa and beat back this threat to our nations’ national security, which we just saw a manifestation of the problem in Manchester,” McCain added.
McCain said that if published reports are true, he would strongly disapprove of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, having reached out to Russian officials to discuss creating a secure communications connection.
“I know some administration officials are saying this is standard procedure. I don’t think it’s standard procedure prior to the inauguration of the President of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position,” McCain said.
However, McCain noted that the current political climate is convoluted, referencing reports that a phony Russian-generated allegation influenced Comey in his handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation by.
“This is becoming more and more bizarre, in fact you can’t make it up,” he said.
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