Sen. John McCain on Tuesday said he didn't want to jump to conclusions regarding claims President Donald Trump asked intelligence officials to deny evidence his campaign cooperated with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, but said he found the continued revelations about the issue "troubling."
The Arizona Republican told CNN the allegations were like a "lousy movie" in an interview prior to Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, which he chairs. The committee was set to hear testimony from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, one of the officials Trump reportedly requested to cooperate in silencing information about the issue.
After McCain's interview with CNN, Coats declined to comment before the Senate committee on whether Trump asked him to deny information regarding the allegations about Russia, saying he considered his conversations with the president private.
McCain said he respected former national security adviser Michael Flynn's decision to plead the Fifth Amendment before the Senate Intelligence Committee and their probe into the issue.
He also offered advice for Trump that outlined two choices he could take in dealing with the fallout over Russia — either face a Watergate-style investigation or follow the example set by former President Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair, a scandal that rocked his presidency and for which he expressed regret, while not admitting knowledge of the plan.
"Get it all out and, if necessary, apologize. Americans are very forgiving," McCain said. "We don't expect perfect people and we're a very forgiving nation."
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