Senator John McCain has called on Trump to cancel his upcoming summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin unless he is willing to confront him about election meddling.
The Republican senator’s statement came after 12 Russian intelligence officers were charged on Friday with allegedly hacking into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 presidential election and releasing stolen and damaging conversations.
The group are also accused of stealing information on 500,000 US voters after hacking a state US election board.
McCain said the charges were the ‘result of the hard work of America’s law enforcement and intelligence officials who dedicate their lives to bringing to justice those who wish to do us harm’.
On Twitter, he said Putin was not America’s friend, he was the nation’s enemy.
Republican Senator John McCain has called for Trump to cancel his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, calling the leader ‘America’s enemy’ after 12 Russian agents were indicted by a grand jury for meddling in the 2016 Presidential election
‘These revelations add to a body of evidence confirming an extensive plot by Vladimir Putin’s government to attack the 2016 election, sow chaos and dissension among the American electorate, and undermine faith in our democracy,’ McCain said in a statement.
‘And despite repeated warnings from our nation’s top intelligence and military leaders, the Kremlin’s efforts to weaken our institutions have continued unabated with insufficient action taken by the administration or Congress to strengthen our cyber defenses, safeguard our election systems, and deter further destabilizing activities.
‘President Trump must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate that there will be a serious price to pay for his ongoing aggression towards the United States and democracies around the world.
‘If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward.’
The indictment of the 12 intelligence officers marks the first time Moscow has been directly implicated in meddling in the 2016 election, and comes just days before Trump and Putin are scheduled to meet.
Trump was due to meet Putin on in Helsinki on Monday, but democrats and McCain are calling for their meeting to be called off. The Kremlin has denied the Russian state was involved in election tampering
McCain, though the only republican to have spoken out, is not alone in his calls for Trump to cancel the meeting. Democrats have overwhelmingly made the same call.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier the indictments are ‘further proof of what everyone but the President seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win’.
Schumer says Trump should cancel his meeting with Putin until Russia takes steps to prove it won’t interfere in future elections.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters stressed the indictments against the Russians contained no allegations of intentional involvement by anyone on the Trump campaign.
She also noted there was no allegation the alleged Russian hacking impacted the outcome of the election.
The Kremlin has denied the Russian state was involved in election meddling, and a statement from the nation’s Foreign Ministry claims the indictments are designed to ‘spoil the atmosphere’ of Monday’s summit.
The ministry’s statement blames ‘influential political forces of the United States, who oppose the normalization of relations between our countries and have been manufacturing blatant slander for two years.’
‘It is regrettable that the circulation of false information in Washington has become the norm, and that criminal cases are brought for obvious political reasons.’
Friday marked the first time Moscow has been directly implicated in meddling in the 2016 election
Special Counsel indictment of 12 Russian GRU agents uploaded by DailyMail.com on Scribd