Russian president Vladimir Putin is the biggest threat to global security, even greater than the terrorist group Isis, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Az) has declared.
In an interview on ABC’s 7:30 on Monday, the Republican senator said president Donald Trump made him “nervous” and expressed concern at reports that White House adviser Jared Kushner allegedly discussed creating a secret communication channel with Russia.
Asked to evaluate the threat to global security posed by Putin, McCain said: “I think he is the premier and most important threat, more so than Isis.”
McCain said that while Isis “can do terrible things and I worry a lot about what is happening with the Muslim faith … 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 think ISIS can do terrible things,” McCain said. “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 added: “They’re still trying to change elections. They just tried to affect the outcome of the French election.”
McCain slammed the Trump administration’s response to Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. election, and is calling for 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,” McCain said.
Watch the video below:
— abc730 (@abc730) May 29, 2017
The Republican senator also addressed recent reports that President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner attempted to set up a secret line of communications with Russia before Trump took office.
“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,” he said. “This is becoming more and more bizarre. In fact, you can’t make it up.”
McCain also said that Trump’s unpredictability makes him “nervous from time to time.”
“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,” he said. “Can I tell you that he does all the time? No. Does it bother me? Yes, it bothers me.”
Asked about the fact Trump had not committed to stay in the Paris climate agreement, McCain said that European leaders were “legitimately concerned” that the US may pull out.