The Islamic State is not the greatest threat to the Western world, according to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Russian President Vladimir Putin is the real concern.
McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the declaration Monday during an interview with Australia’s ABC.
“I think [Putin] is the premier and most important threat — more so than ISIS,” he said.
John McCain on Putin: "I think he is the premier and most important threat. More so than ISIS." https://t.co/lKP0RT37YZ— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin)1496070594.0
While McCain admitted there is no evidence the Kremlin was successful in changing the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, he asserted Russian officials have been interfering in elections, including the recent French vote.
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron slammed the state-run Russia Today and Sputnik, both of which he called “lying propaganda,” for spreading “serious untruths” during the French election, Time reported.
Putin, for his part, denied Moscow interfered in the election at all.
But McCain — much like Macron — remains unconvinced. The senator described Russia as “the far greatest challenge that we have.”
“So we need to have increased sanctions, and hopefully, when we come back from our recess, the Senate will move forward with sanctions on Russia and enact other penalties for Russian behavior,” McCain said, according to CNBC.
The Arizona lawmaker was also frustrated by reports that White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, attempted to set up a secret line of communication between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin.
“I don’t like it. I just don’t like it,” McCain said. “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.”