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Russians imperilled the very fundamental of democracy: McCain

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Top Republican Senator John McCain today called for a thorough investigation into alleged Russian hacking efforts during the presidential election and asserted that Moscow imperilled the foundation of a democracy.

"What the Russians did was imperil the very fundamental of a democracy and that is to affect the election. I don't believe there is any evidence that they did. But the attempt was very sophisticated. The attempt was much more far-reaching than we had ever anticipated," McCain told ABC

"And so there has to be a full and complete investigation. That should guide our relations to a large degree with Russia," he said and called for an Congressional investigations into the alleged Russian hacking attempts.

Deeply concerned about US relationship with Russia, McCain said new US President Donald Trump has around him a national security team that is very concerned as well.

All of them including the Defence Secretary, General (rtd) James Mattis or the Homeland Security Secretary General (rtd) John Kelly or the National Security Advisor General Flynn view Russia as major challenge.

"They (Russians) have committed war crimes. They have," he alleged.

"When you have airplanes with precision weapons, striking hospitals in Aleppo and slaughtering innocent men, women and children, you're committing a war crime. So we need more sanctions against Russia. We should not relax them," he said.

"If we have peace through strength -- and, by the way, rebuilding our military is one thing that I'm excited about this administration and General Mattis. But, if we don't keep those sanctions on and even increase them, it will encourage Vladimir Putin, who is a war criminal," McCain said.

McCain said he favours nomination of Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of State.

"I will be voting in favour of his nomination. I have had numerous conversations with him. And, again, my concerns have been about our relations with Russia. And his past relations, I believe -- and I'm very cautious about this -- but I believe that Mr. Tillerson understands the importance of a steadfast and strong relationship," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 22 2017. 22:02 IST