Tags: Barack Obama | John McCain | Russia | mccain | lindsey graham | sanctions | doubt

McCain, Graham Call for Sanctions, Doubt Obama's Power on Russia

Fox News' "America's Newsroom"

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 01:28 PM

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, traveling in Latvia on Wednesday, called for sanctions against Russia to punish the nation for its interference in the presidential election, but both remained skeptical, even with the White House reportedly being close to announcing what action it plans to take.

"First of all, we ought to have a policy, which this administration does not have, which comes with a strategy to defeat these attacks, which this administration has never done," McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program.

For one, the president can increase the sanctions on Russia, the Arizona Republican said, but also, a move should be made to "make sure we have a permanent presence here in the Baltic countries," who are very concerned.

"I think I would give defensive weapons to Ukraine so they can defend themselves against further Russian attacks on their homeland, and, make sure that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin knows that this kind of action in the future will be responded to," McCain continued. "So far, he has gotten away with, whatever he has wanted to do. We need a firm policy."

Graham, though, said that when it comes to Obama and Putin, "Putin has cleaned his clock," and he doesn't think any action taken by Obama will do any good.

"The bottom line is, you need to hit Russia in a sustained fashion," the South Carolina Republican, who also serves on the Armed Services Committee, told Fox News. "If Obama tries to do it, then you send the wrong signal. Here is what I would prefer. Let the new Congress and new president deal with Russia, pass new sanctions, much tougher than the ones we already have."

Graham said he'd put Russia's energy sector under sanction, name Putin "as an individual in his inner circle," and let Russia be sanctioned in terms of money and travel.

"They have weak economy," said Graham. "They're about the size of Spain. The only way Putin is going to change if he feels the pain. If I were President [Donald] Trump I would call President [Barack] Obama and say, don't start something that you can't finish. Let Trump and the new Congress do this.

There are always fears that a strong reaction can boomerang, but McCain said there are two choices, either to do nothing or to go in strong.

"If you're able to change the results of an election, then you have undermined the very fundamentals of democracy," said McCain. "This is, this is of the utmost seriousness, what they have done and everybody knows that they have done it. Now, the question about whether it affected the election or not, I don't believe that it did. Set that aside. So this, is of the utmost seriousness."

The Obama administration, though, "passively observed Putin" violate international law and threaten the security of the United States, said McCain.

"Putin is a thug and a bully and a murderer," said McCain. "He understands strength. That is all that he understands. And we're still the strongest nation on Earth. We just have to do it right."

Graham said he'd encourage people to learn from history and don't repeat the mistakes.

"Anytime in Europe you let one country grab land by force, you will live to regret it," said Graham. "The rule of law is, sacrosanct to me. If Scotland wants to break away from the UK, there is a process for that to be had. Crimea was taken by force. If you don't hit Russia hard for interfering in our elections, and I agree with Sen. McCain, they didn't affect the outcome but definitely hacked into the DNC and [John] Podesta emails. To my Republican friends, it could be us next."

There has been a "new world order" since the end of World War II, he continued, and the United States has allowed Putin to undermine it.

"I would hope that our European allies would understand this threat and would join us in this effort to curb this reckless behavior by Vladmir Putin," said Graham.

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Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, traveling in Latvia on Wednesday, called for sanctions against Russia to punish the nation for its interference in the presidential election, but both remained skeptical, even with the White House reportedly being close to announcing...
mccain, lindsey graham, sanctions, doubt, obama, power
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2016-28-28
Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 01:28 PM
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