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Iran Press TV

McCain: Russian president 'a greater threat than ISIL'

Iran Press TV

Mon May 29, 2017 3:2PM

US Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a bigger threat to world security than the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.

"I think ISIL 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," McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday in an interview with ABC network during a tour of Australia.

Asked to evaluate the perceived threat posed by Putin, McCain said, "I think he is the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIL."

The Arizona Republican also said that although he had seen "no evidence" relative to Moscow successfully influencing the 2016 presidential election, he believed the Russians "tried, and are still trying."

"They're still trying to change elections. They just tried to affect the outcome of the French election," he added.

The senator also slammed US President Donald Trump's response to Russia's alleged attempts to influence the US election and called for more sanctions against Moscow.

"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.

Moreover, McCain added that he is concerned about reports that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner called for a secret communication channel with Russia even before Trump took office.

The senator dismissed administration officials' assertion that what Kushner did was standard procedure, noting it happened "prior to the inauguration of the president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position."

McCain said Trump makes him nervous when it comes to international security.

"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."

Relations between the US and Russia have frequently been described as being at all-time low over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Russia and the US have been supporting opposite sides during the six-year militancy in Syria.

Moscow has been helping Damascus in its fight against extremist militants, including Daesh, while Washington has been backing some of the militant groups operating in the country. The US has also been leading dozens of its allies in a coalition purportedly targeting Daesh positions in the Arab country.

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