As Donald Trump continues to shower president Vladimir Putin with praise, Sen. John McCain is leading GOP criticism of Russia’s recent hacking.
The Arizona senator called Russia’s alleged cyber attack to influence the 2016 presidential election an ‘act of war’ on Friday.
‘When you attack a country, it’s an act of war,’ he said on Ukrainian TV after meeting with President Petro Poroshenko.
‘And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay so that we can perhaps persuade Russians to stop this kind of attack on our very fundamentals of democracy.’
McCain, who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also scheduled a hearing next week on foreign cyber threats that will focus on Russia, according to CNN.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, NSA Director Mike Rogers and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre are scheduled to testify.
McCain is also pushing for the creation of a Select Committee in Congress to investigate allegations that Russia hacked the US to help Trump win the election.
Both he and Republican Sen Lindsey Graham issued a join statement saying they intent to ‘lead the effort’ in Congress for stronger sanctions against Russia.
‘The retaliatory measures announced by the Obama Administration are long overdue,’ the statement began.
‘But ultimately, they are a small price for Russia to pay for its brazen attack on American democracy.’
Obama’s sanctions, announced on Thursday, included the expulsion of 35 diplomats the White House accused of being intelligence agents.
The president also ordered the closure of two luxury compounds used by diplomatic aides and the announcement of economic sanctions on Moscow’s spy services.
While some GOP members, including House and Senate leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, called the sanctions ‘overdue’ and a ‘good step’, Trump decided to praise Putin instead.
The president-elect put himself directly at odds with Obama as he tweeted that Putin was ‘very smart’ for not retaliating against the president’s sanctions.
‘Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!’ Trump wrote, even momentarily pinning the tweet to the top of his timeline.
He then tweeted later in the day: ‘Russians are playing @CNN and @NBCNews for such fools – funny to watch, they don’t have a clue! @FoxNews totally gets it!’
The official Twitter account of the Russian Embassy in Washington quickly retweeted the message.
Putin went against his foreign minister Segrey Lavrov’s calls to retaliate against Obama’s sanctions, saying he would wait to deal with Trump instead.
‘We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone,’ Putin said in a statement inviting children of US diplomats to the holiday soiree.
‘We evaluate the new unfriendly steps by the outgoing US administration as a provocation aimed at further undermining Russian-American relations.’
Via Daily Mail
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