John McCain says Donald Trump's scandals reaching 'Watergate size and scale'

There is mounting concern among Republicans about the president's actions 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 17 May 2017 13:53 BST
Senator John McCain says Trump scandal is Watergate-sized

The controversy engulfing Donald Trump has is reaching a “Watergate size and scale”, according to one of the most senior figures within the Republican Party.

Amid mounting concern among Republicans about the president’s recent actions - concern that has so be been markedly muted in public - Senator John McCain of Arizona, said it was unacceptable for Mr Trump to have invited Russia’s foreign into the Oval Office and then share sensitive intelligence material with him.

“I think we’ve seen this movie before. I think it’s reaching the point where it’s of Watergate size and scale, and a couple of other scandals we’ve seen,” said at a dinner in Washington organised by the International Republican Institute, and where he was interviewed on stage by CBS contributor Bob Schieffer.

“It’s a centipede and the shoe continues to drop. Every couple of days there’s a new aspect.”

The 82-year-old year made his remarks after it was reported Mr Trump had asked then FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into the president’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn. Mr Comey reportedly kept a memo of the interaction with Mr Trump, but did not respond to his alleged request to drop the probe.

Last week, Mr Trump abruptly fired Mr Comey, initially citing his handing of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. He subsequently admitted that the ongoing FBI probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s alleged effort to interfere in the 2016 election.

“When I decided to [fire Comey], I said to myself, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,” he said.

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In Washington, there have been an steady uptick in whispered conversations as to whether Mr Trump had crossed a line by allegedly seeking to terminate the investigation into Mr Flynn. Some suggested he had broken his oath of office, opening the way for possible impeachment. Other said he had obstructed justice,

But Republicans control both houses of Congress. Mr Trump would only likely to be impeached if the party decided it had to try and get rid of him before the 2018 midterm elections, something that would depend on their calculation about whether his presence in the White House would wreck their own chances of reelection.

So far, as a number of commentators have pointed out, the party has been notable for its subdued response. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the senate, simply said he wished there was less “drama” emerging from the White House. Many have accused the Republicans of being spineless.

Republican House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, on Tuesday night asked Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, to provide any records documenting communication between Mr Trump and Mr Comey.

Meanwhile, all 33 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked their Republican chairmen for a full investigation into the president and his top White House aides.

Asked what Mr Trump should do at this point, Mr McCain, who has long had a difficult and complicated relationship with Mr Trump, referred once again to the Nixon presidency and said, “get it all out” before the public, “no matter what it is”.

“Same thing that you and others advised Richard Nixon,” he said. “It’s not going to be over until every aspect of it is thoroughly examined and the American people have made a judgment, and the longer you delay, the longer it’s going to last.”

He said that no matter what views about Mr Trump, people had, the chaos was not good for the American people.

“I have to say to my Republican friends, I don’t think you can say that the confirmation of Judge Grouch is enough of a record to stand before the American people in 2018.”

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