John McCain: I'm more worried about this country than I've been in my entire lifetime

Veteran senator also calls recent Donald Trump comments on Russia 'appalling'

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The Independent US

Veteran US Senator John McCain has said he is more worried about his country than "I've been in my entire lifetime".

Voicing concern that the world order was under strain, he told CNN host David Axelrod, that he saw "a world in incredible turmoil".

“We are seeing strains on the world order," he said. "We are seeing China, we're seeing 6 million refugees, 400,000 killed, the list goes on and on." 

Blaming Barack Obama for much of the turmoil, the 80-year-old Arizona senator said the former president's policies had been an "unmitigated disaster". 

"I am more worried about this country than I've been in my entire lifetime”, he told Axelrod, who served as a senior adviser to Mr Obama.  

Mr McCain, who ran against Mr Obama for the US presidency in 2008, was no less critical of the current Republican President, Donald Trump.

Mr Trump's recent claim that the US lacked the moral standing to question Russian President Vladimir Putin's human rights abuses was "appalling", he said. 

“We’ve got a lot of killers," Mr Trump said. "What do you think, our country’s so innocent?”

But Mr McCain dismissed that suggestion.

He said: "To state that there's some moral equivalency between an imperfect nation - that's the United States of America - and Vladimir Putin is appalling."

The senator, who was tortured while being held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, also claimed that alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election was potentially worse than if the Kremlin had launched a conventional military attack. 

"It's one thing to destroy a building with a bomb or inflict damage, but if you destroy the fundamentals of a free and open society, which is what democracy is all about, you inflict incredibly heavier damage," he said.

Mr McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Service Committee, also voiced concern about the differences between the US President’s national security team, which he described as the “strongest I’ve seen”, and the instincts of Mr Trump’s close advisers such as chief strategist Steve Bannon.

"I know that the President has great respect for these former military people that he has given the most important national security posts”, he said. “Everybody tells me that Mr Bannon has his ear constantly. So there is a contradiction within this administration."