According to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Russia is a greater threat to the United States than ISIS.
During a visit to Australia, the senior senator revealed to ABC he is anxious about President Donald Trump’s campaign contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He called the leader the “premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS”.
“I think ISIS can do terrible things,” he continued. “But it’s the Russians who tried to destroy the fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election. I’ve seen no evidence they succeeded, but they tried and they are still trying to change elections.”
McCain went on to acknowledge that they attempted to impact the French elections.
“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.
He encouraged Trump and his colleagues in Congress to respond with sanctions.
“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.
He hopes to see that happen after the Memorial Day vacation.
When it comes to his confidence in the president and his team, McCain admitted he’s “nervous from time to time.”
“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,” he explained. “Can I tell you that he does [that] all the time? No. Does it bother me? Yes, it bothers me. 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.”
McCain went on to say he hopes the president can manage to differentiate between winning the wars in the Middle East and Russia. He’s not happy hearing recent revelations that Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner was attempting to set up secret back channels with Russia in the days following the election.
“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.”
He went on to say that it is now obvious that the FBI director James Comey took actions against former Secretary Hillary Clinton, all based on false information intentionally distributed by the Russian government.
“This is becoming more and more bizarre, in fact you can’t make it up,” he said.
He’s also concerned that North Korean “behavior” is reaching a “Cuban missile crisis” level.
“The key is China. China can restrain North Korean behavior,” he said.
According to McCain it isn’t a good idea for the U.S. to have to arm Australia with missiles to counter North Korea.