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McCain calls for immigration reform, Russian leak investigation

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2016 file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, backed the Obama administration’s plan to sell more than $1 billion worth of American-made tanks and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, soundly defeating a bid to derail the deal pushed by lawmakers critical of the kingdom’s role in Yemen’s civil war. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Arizona Sen. John McCain said in the battle of isolationists and realists, the isolionalists are winning.

McCain’s comments came during a podcast with David Axelrod, the former senior advisor for President Barack Obama and current senior political commentator for CNN.

After Axelrod asked McCain about relations with Mexico, McCain responded by saying that the finance minister of Mexico told him that the country does more business with Arizona than it does with Spain. He warned of a potential for dire consequences if the United States were to cut off border trade between Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora.

“I’m telling you that you would have a serious and deep recession,” McCain told Axelrod. “There are a couple 100-thousand jobs that are directly not indirectly, but directly related to our trade with Mexico. By the way, if we continue to do this poisoning of the environment between the United States and Mexico, they will elect a far-left president and you think we have problems with Mexico now.”

Besides relations with Mexico, Axelrod asked McCain a number of questions on a variety of issues including immigration, the possible Russian influence on the elections, and attacks on the press and fake news.

Asked if McCain has had communication with President Donald Trump regarding his number of concerns, the senator said he had two brief phone conversations with the president, but he’s talked to people around him, including his national security team and the vice president.

On immigration, McCain said that he believes there needs to be immigration reform because, “You are never going to have 11 million in the country illegally without having some tough, hard path to to citizenship.”

He added that the border needed to be secured and enforced, and said there’s a flood of Mexican manufactured heroin that is coming into the United States that is killing people.

“I think sooner or later we are going to have to address it, and I don’t know what this president’s priorities are,” McCain said. “But if he said that we have to, ‘Build a Wall,’ which I take in the most figurative sense — not literally build a wall, but at the same time, let’s do immigration reform with E-Verify where you have to have documentation that proves you are in the country legally. Where we enforce the border. Where we let STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) students stay in this country. Where you provide people a long hard path to citizenship. Those kinds of things could all be put into a package, and I would hope the president would consider it.”

Besides immigration and relations with Mexico, McCain also talked about possible ties the Russian government had with the election, in which he said are certain fundamentals of the rule of law and one of them is the freedom to legitimately elect leadership.

“If you destroy that, then you have destroyed democracy,” McCain said. “It’s one thing to destroy a building with a bomb and inflict damage. But if you destroy the fundamentals of a free and open society, which is what democracy is all about, you inflict heavy damage.”

McCain has been vocal about the need for a bipartisan congressional committee to investigate any and all possible leaks from claims that Trump said Obama had wiretapped his New York office, to possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government to fix the election.

Axelrod asked McCain if an American citizen was found to be working with the Russians to interfere with the election, should they be tried for treason?

McCain responded by saying: “I think you would have to gauge the circumstances. It’s one thing to have a conversation, it’s another thing to plot together. I think it would be something that individual would have to be held accountable.”

McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, said during his capture he missed reading information that was free and decensored. It’s something that he added is under attack today with the emergence of fake news and the questioning the credibility of ligament news organization.

I was on with Chuck Todd and I said, ‘Look, I hate you. I hate Meet the Press.’ But the fact is without a legitimate press and a respected media in this country, then you have destroyed the real important part of the press,” McCain said. “It’s not an accident that it’s a part of our Bill or Rights. Because you have to have a media to watch what governments do. You can appoint all the judges and all of that, but it’s the media that informs the American people. Now with this false media, I’m really very concerned about Americans receiving unbiased, objective views on the issues.”

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