John McCain: Putin the 'Most Important Threat, More So Than ISIS'

"I think he is the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS", McCain said.

'We have done nothing since the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin's attempt to change the outcome of our elections. I think ISIS can do awful things ... So I would urge you to keep at it.

While he said that he believes President Trump accepts the advice of his national security team "most of the time", he added: "Can I tell you that he does [that] all the time? No".

He also believes Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a greater threat than the terrorist group ISIS.

"The challenge is that as China has grown wealthier and stronger, it seems to be acting more and more like a bully", Senator McCain said on Tuesday.

"I think ISIS can do awful things", he said.

During a short visit to Canberra this week Senator McCain said the U.S. and Australia should be engaging in "fairly routine" joint military exercises that were not of a "threatening fashion".

McCain conceded America's reputation had suffered in the early months of Trump's presidency as scandals over ties to Russian Federation, alleged obstruction of an FBI investigation, nepotism and foundering relations with other world leaders rocked the administration with crippling regularity.

"America is our Congress, which now has within it as many internationalists, both Republicans and Democrats, as any Congress in which I have served". I mean, this becomes more and more weird.

Senator McCain said China had achieved an "economic miracle", but gave a withering assessment of its behaviour as a major power.

The Arizona senator, who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee in the U.S., says while the new administration is "finding its feet" there are many good people within cabinet.

"When America abandons its leadership then bad things happen and that vacuum is filled with evil influences".

Asked about the fact Trump had not committed to stay in the Paris climate agreement, McCain said that European leaders were "legitimately concerned" that the United States may pull out.

McCain's comments are set to escalate tensions between the United States and China just days before delegates from both countries are scheduled to attend a regional security conference in Singapore.

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