Republican Sen. John McCain on Sunday contradicted President-elect Donald Trump’s earlier comments in the day about reports of Russian interference in the U.S. election by saying that “facts are difficult things.” Earlier Sunday Trump said the reports were “ridiculous.”
Asked about Trump’s comments, McCain, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” replied, “I don’t know what to make of it, because it is clear the Russians interfered.”
But McCain stopped short of saying Russian hackers were backing a Trump victory and actively pursued that goal. “Now, whether they intended to interfere to the degree that they were trying to elect a certain candidate, I think that is a subject of investigation,” he said.
McCain is advocating that he Sen. Lindsey Graham head up a committee of inquiry.
The Arizona senator insists the Russians hacked into the campaign “sort of every week or so.” Moreover, he has raised the question of whether “they were hacking the Republicans the same way.”
In addition to Trump’s Fox interview, Reince Priebus, incoming White House chief of staff, refuted the notion of the Russians ever hacking the Republican National Commitee in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
McCain also thinks the Russians have interfered in “a lot of other elections.”
McCain dismissed Russian President Putin as “a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent” and said the Russians tried to “shut down” the economy of Estonia.
When host John Dickerson suggested that Trump “doesn’t seem to share your view of Russia,” McCain responded that he hopes the president-elect will “listen to people like General [James] Mattis,” Trump’s choice for secretary of defense.