In new book excerpt, McCain explains dossier role, calls Russia’s Putin ‘evil’
PHOENIX – In a lengthy new excerpt from his upcoming memoir, John McCain explained his role in the controversial Donald Trump dossier and called Russian President Vladimir Putin “an evil man.”
The Wall Street Journal published the 2,200-word piece Thursday from McCain’s “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations,” which comes out May 22.
In it, McCain wrote that he first learned about the dossier, a report compiled by a former British intelligence officer, from a retired British diplomat while attending a November 2016 security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The report contained information about the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russian officials as well as intimate details that would be embarrassing to Trump. Questions remain about the dossier’s accuracy and veracity.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) May 10, 2018
McCain agreed to receive a copy of the report and passed it along to then-FBI Director James Comey after reviewing its contents.
“The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true. I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation’s security should have done,” McCain wrote.
The six-term senator from Arizona, who is battling brain cancer, was unapologetic – even defiant – toward critics of his actions.
“I have the same answer to inquiries from the paranoid and from the skeptical: I had an obligation to bring to the attention of appropriate officials unproven accusations I could not assess myself and which, were any of them true, would create a vulnerability to the designs of a hostile foreign power,” he wrote.
“I discharged that obligation, and I would do it again. Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell.”
The 81-year-old senator went on to detail why he’s been such a strong critic of Putin.
“At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, I’ve been a realist about Russia and its corrupt strongman for nearly two decades,” McCain wrote. “Putin and I have history, you could say, each of us having regularly made known our low opinion of the other.”
Putin has been taking advantage of the openness of U.S. society to sow division, according to McCain.
“Vladimir Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds, which include the destruction of the liberal world order that the United States has led and that has brought more stability, prosperity and freedom to humankind than has ever existed in history,” he wrote.
In addition to the book, an HBO documentary about McCain is coming out this month.
“John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” will premiere on Memorial Day, May 28, at 5 p.m. Arizona time.
McCain agreed to take part in the film project soon after being diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017.