Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Russian President Vladimir Putin is a bigger threat to world security than ISIS, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He maintained Putin was the "premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS," according to the article published Monday.
"I think ISIS can do terrible things and I worry a lot about what is happening with the Muslim faith," McCain said. "But, it's the Russians who tried to destroy the fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election."
"I've seen no evidence they succeeded, but they tried and they are still trying to change elections," he added. "They just tried to affect the outcome of the French election. So, I view Vladimir Putin, who has dismembered Ukraine, a sovereign nation, who is putting pressure on the Baltics — I view the Russians as the far greatest challenge that we have."
McCain maintained the U.S. needed to impose sanctions against Russia for meddling in the presidential election.
"We have done nothing in response to the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin's attempt to change the outcome of our elections. So, way to go Vladimir. We haven't responded at all to it," he said.
"We need to increase sanctions. And, hopefully when we get back from recess the Senate will move forward with sanctions on Russia and enact other penalties for Russian behavior."
McCain’s visit to Australia was part of a tour aimed at reassuring allies about U.S. willingness to remain engaged in the region, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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