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McCain On Putin: He's A Bigger Threat To The World Than ISIS

Even though “ISIS can do terrible things,” the terrorist group is not as big a threat to the United States as Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to Sen. John McCain.

The Hill reported that the Arizona Republican declared Monday at an event sponsored by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney that Putin is the “premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS.” McCain, referring to allegations that Putin tampered with the 2016 presidential race, explained: “It’s the Russians who tried to destroy the fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election.”

The senator acknowledged he had “no evidence” that the Russians succeeded in influencing the election results. However, he said Kremlin officials “tried, and are still trying to change elections.” McCain pointed out that “they just tried to affect the outcome of the French election.” He argued that “we have done nothing since the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin’s attempt to change the outcome of our elections.” He added: “So, way to go, Vladimir. We haven’t responded at all.”

The senator also reacted to a report that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, tried in December to set up a secret, “back-channel” line of communication between the incoming president’s transition team and the Russian government. “I know some administration officials are saying this is standard procedure,” McCain said. “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. This is becoming more and more bizarre. In fact, you can’t make it up.”

McCain has been one of the president’s most outspoken Republican critics. He claimed that he did not even vote for his party’s nominee, instead writing in the name of Ohio Gov. John Kasich on his ballot. The senator said Monday that Trump makes him “nervous from time to time,” adding: “I do believe that the president has great confidence in this national security team. I do believe most of the time that he accepts their advice and counsel. Can I tell you that he does all the time? No. Does it bother me? Yes, it bothers me.”

Salon, citing The Associated Press as a source, reported that McCain told the Australians: “I realize that some of President Trump’s actions and statements have unsettled America’s friends. They have unsettled many Americans, as well. There is real debate under way now in my country about what kind of role America should play in the world and, frankly, I don’t know how this debate will play out.”

The senator continued: “I realize that I come to Australia at a time when many are questioning whether America is still committed to these values, and you are not alone. Other American allies have similar doubts these days, and this is understandable. But I do believe — and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here — that the future of the world will turn to a large extent on how this debate in America is resolved. That’s why I and others are fighting so hard to ensure that America stands by our allies and remains an active, principled leader in the world.”

Source: The Hill
Photo: YouTube

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