McCain: Kushner’s Reported Push For Russia Backchannel Not ‘Standard’

In an interview with an Australian media outlet published Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he does not believe Jared Kushner’s reported suggestion that the Trump transition team establish a secret backchannel to the Russian government followed typical procedures.

“I don’t like it, I just don’t,” McCain told Australian outlet ABC regarding the Washington Post report that Kushner asked the Russian ambassador to set up a secret communications channel between the Trump team and the Kremlin using Russia’s embassy in the U.S.

“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,” McCain told ABC.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster both defended Kushner’s reported request for a backchannel on Sunday, arguing that such a move is typical and helpful.

McCain also told ABC that he sees Russian President Vladimir Putin as a greater threat than the Islamic State.

“I think ISIS can do terrible things,” he said. “But it’s the Russians who tried to destroy the very fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election.”

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