John McCain condemns attacks on FBI and DOJ: 'We are doing Putin's job for him'

John McCain. Picture: Getty Images
  • The White House approved the controversial memo from House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes for release on Friday.
  • Moments later, Arizona Sen. John McCain condemned “partisan sideshows” that “undermine our own rule of law.”

GOP Sen. John McCain condemned attacks on the integrity of the Department of Justice and FBI on Friday, minutes after President Donald Trump declassified the controversial memo from House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes.

“In 2016, the Russian government engaged in an elaborate plot to interfere in an American election and undermine our democracy. Russia employed the same tactics it has used to influence elections around the world, from France and Germany to Ukraine, Montenegro, and beyond,” McCain said in a statement.

“Putin’s regime launched cyberattacks and spread disinformation with the goal of sowing chaos and weakening faith in our institutions. And while we have no evidence that these efforts affected the outcome of our election, I fear they succeeded in fuelling political discord and dividing us from one another.”

The statement continued: “The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests – no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s. The American people deserve to know all of the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded.”

After being approved by the committee and now the White House, the memo was released publicly later on Friday. Republican proponents of releasing the memo in full said it would shed light on improprieties and unethical practices by FBI and DOJ officials with regard to surveillance of former Trump campaign officials.

But McCain, who has not returned to the Senate since December while undergoing treatment for brain cancer, insinuated the ongoing fight over the memo’s declassification was purely political.

“Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan sideshows,” the Arizona senator said. “If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

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