John McCain Suggests A Few Better Topics For President Trump To Discuss With Russia

He suggested a few other topics for the president to discuss with Russia.

On Monday, the Washington Post published a report claiming that President Donald Trump revealed "highly classified information" with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a meeting at the White House last week. According to sources, "Trump's disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State."

This report comes less than a week after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, as the organization was moving forward with investigations into Trump's ties to Russia. Trump's meeting with Russian officials the very next day, as well as his decision to bar the American press from covering the event, raised more than a few eyebrows.

Republican Sen. John McCain was one of many on social media to respond to the latest report. He shared a link to the Washington Post article and wrote, "If true, deeply disturbing..."


Then this morning, McCain released an even longer statement on the allegations, taking a firmer stance and highlighting the serious implications of such an intelligence breach. 

"Reports that this information was provided by a U.S. ally and shared without its knowledge sends a troubling signal to American allies and partners around the world and may impair their willingness to share intelligence with us in the future," said McCain, who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Arizona senator went on to suggest a few more productive topics President Trump could have discussed with the Russian officials, including the country's "interference in American and European elections, its illegal invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, its other destabilizing activities across Europe, and the slaughter of innocent civilians and targeting hospitals in Syria."

McCain's outlook on the allegations seems to have toughened since earlier on Monday. "We certainly don't want any president to leak classified information but the president does have the right to do that," he initially said, according to Erica Werner of the Associated Press.

Fellow Republican Sen. Jim Risch, meanwhile, reportedly insisted that "the president has the ability to declassify anything at any time without any process." Others refrained from commenting one way or another. Sen. Marco Rubio reportedly said he hadn't seen the story when asked about it, adding, "Sometimes this stuff is breaking faster than our ability to check online."

Several Democats spoke up with much harsher words, including Sen. Mark Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who called it "a slap in the face to the intel community." Sen. Bernie Sanders also released a statement calling Trump's alleged actions "reckless and dangerous," and called for any recordings of conversations in the Oval Office to be made public, and a special prosecutor to be appointed.

However, McCain's later statement, as well as others, suggest there is at least some bipartisan concern over the issue. Rep. Justin Amash, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, tweeted that the Trump administration should share details of the meeting in question with Congress. 

Amash had previously responded to James Comey's firing with the news that he was reviewing legislation to "establish an independent commission" on Trump's ties to Russia.

Rep. Mike Gallagher echoed Amash's request, tweeting that the White House "should share a transcript of the meeting," and adding that he knows "firsthand the life and death implications of safeguarding classified information."

House Speaker Paul Ryan also shared that he "hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration," while Sen. Bob Corker took a more frank approach, saying the White House is "in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that is happening."

Of course, whether these statements translate into action is another question entirely. Several Twitter users were quick to remind Sen. McCain of this, asking him and other Republicans in Congress to act on their concerns about Trump's behavior.

President Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter this morning to defend what he called his "absolute right" to share "facts pertaining to terrorism and flight safety" with Russian officials. The New York Times points out that he did not dispute Monday's report, despite Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the president's national security advisor, previously calling it "false." McMaster further insisted Tuesday morning that the president's discussion with Russia was "wholly appropriate."

Cover image via Instagram


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