Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said in an interview published Saturday that he takes Russian meddling in the 2016 election “more seriously than a physical attack.”
He also said that he “didn’t know what to make” of an explosive, and still largely unsubstantiated, dossier which alleged the Russian government had compromising information on President Donald Trump.
In a cover story for New York magazine published online Saturday, McCain projected a hawkish stance on Russia and said Russian interference in the American election had risked undermining “the foundation of democracy.”
McCain, in December of last year, was part of a bipartisan group of senators who requested the formation of a select committee to investigate Russian interference in the election.
“The severity of this issue, the gravity of it, is so consequential because if you succeed in corrupting an election, then you’ve destroyed the foundation of democracy,” McCain told the publication. “So I view it with the utmost seriousness. I view it more seriously than a physical attack. I view it more seriously than Orlando, or San Bernardino. As tragic as that was, the far-reaching consequences of an election hack are certainly far in excess of a single terrorist attack.”
McCain also said the Trump administration still had questions to answer about the circumstances surrounding former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ouster, which he called a sign of “dysfunction.”
“When did Flynn know about anything to do with Russian interference?” he asked. “Why was there a gap of X number of days between the president being told and no action taken? What is the extent of the relationship between Flynn and the Russians?”
And, referring to the now-public (and still largely unsubstantiated) “dossier” on Trump, which alleged among other things that the Russian government could have compromising information on the President, McCain did not dismiss it out-of-hand.
“I didn’t know what to make of it, but everyone knows the Russians do use women and sex when people go to Russia,” he said. “It’s an old KGB honeypot.”
Read New York’s full profile here.