McCain says the US has been “totally paralyzed” in response to Russian hacking
Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has reiterated his call for a select committee to conduct an investigation into Russia’s hacking of Democrats’ emails during the election season.
“We need to get to the bottom of this,” McCain said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday morning. “We need to find out exactly what was done and what the implications of the attacks were, especially if they had an effect on our election.”
McCain’s words come just two days after the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed sources, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency were in agreement that Russia launched a cyberattack during the 2016 presidential election in order to achieve a specific outcome: a Donald Trump victory.
“There’s no doubt they were interfering and no doubt it was a cyberattack,” McCain said. “The question now is how much and what damage and what should the United States of America do? And so far, we’ve been totally paralyzed.”
McCain also took a swipe at President Barack Obama, who said during his final end-of-year press conference that he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out” and stop meddling in U.S. political affairs.
“I’m sure that when Vladimir Putin was told, quote, ‘Cut it out’ unquote, I’m sure that Vladimir Putin immediately stopped all cyber-activities,” McCain said. “The truth is, they are hacking every single day.”
“This is the sign of possible unraveling of the world order that was established after World War II, which has made one of the most peaceful periods in the history of the world,” McCain said, also referring to the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria’s Aleppo. “We are starting to see the strains and the unraveling of it, and that is because of the absolute failure of American leadership.”
So far, President-elect Trump has refused to acknowledge the FBI and CIA’s interpretation of the hacking, and has instead treated it as a conspiracy designed to make his leadership less credible.
That said, the newly appointed White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump would accept that Russia had masterminded the hacking of Democrats’ email accounts if intelligence officials drafted a report containing their consensus on the matter.
“I think he would accept the conclusion if they would get together, put out a report, and show the American people they are on the same page,” Priebus said. The two agencies, historically at odds, at first didn’t agree on what Russia’s motives were for hacking, according to a Washington Post report published Dec. 10, but they have reportedly since reached a consensus.
Priebus, who is still serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee, disputed whether the hacked emails actually hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning. “There’s no evidence that shows the outcome of the elections was changed by a couple dozen John Podesta [Clinton’s campaign manager] emails,” said Priebus.