John McCain says there is 'nothing America First’ about believing Putin on election meddling claims

His comments follow Trump and Putin's 'brief' meeting in Vietnam at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Saturday

Joseph Gamp
Sunday 12 November 2017 12:11 GMT
U.S. Senator John McCain has branded Trump's willingness to believe President Vladimir Putin as unpatriotic.
U.S. Senator John McCain has branded Trump's willingness to believe President Vladimir Putin as unpatriotic. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Senator John McCain has said there is “nothing ‘America First’” about "trusting’ President Vladimir Putin, following President Donald Trump’s meeting with the Russian leader at the APEC summit in Vietnam on Saturday.

The comments follow the recent Robert Mueller probe into the Kremlin's suspected "meddling" in the 2016 US presidential elections, which saw the first charges filed in the case but are sealed under order from a federal judge.

In a statement on his official website, McCain said: "There's nothing 'America First' about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community.

“Vladimir Putin does not have America's interests at heart. To believe otherwise is not only naive but also places our national security at risk," McCain said.

But Trump still gave his blessing to Putin, saying: “Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” aboard Air Force One after the meeting in Vietnam, reported The Hill.

Trump and Putin shake hands at the APEC summit

Senator McCain, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also spoke of the Trump and Putin’s apparently "brief" discussions on the Syrian civil war.

Mr Mueller was appointed in May to determine if Mr Trump's campaign advisers colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.

It is unclear what the charges are but the development suggests Mr Mueller and his team believe crimes were committed by at least one person in relation to last year’s election.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, seen here on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 21, 2017, is facing augmented criticism from Republicans (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Meanwhile, Mr Putin branded the claims of interfering with the election as "absurd", and claimed that the accusations were "designed to hurt" the president.

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