John McCain Discussed National Security With Russian Hackers In Leaked Audio
Senator caught promising anti-Russia sanctions during phone call
John McCain was duped into discussing national security matters with a pair of Russian pranksters who managed to hack their way into a phone call with the Republican senator posing as the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman and Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament.
During the phone call, with who he thought was his "good friend" Volodymyr Groysman, McCain promised the "PM" tougher anti-Russian sanctions, adding that the Senate will fight President Trump is he tries to stop it.
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The hackers uploaded the recording of the phone call to their youtube channel, and many are now accusing the Senator or treason after discussing going against the President and working behind his back to impose sanctions against Putin and Russia.
"I have to be very frank with my friend, the prime minister, and that is that I do not know what the president is going to do… We will continue to advocate, including our Senate leader, Senator McConnell, for maintaining sanctions and increasing sanctions," McCain said, adding that any move by Trump to lift the sanctions would be countered with legislative action in Senate."
The pranksters even went as far as to say that Putin had also ordered two Russian hackers, Evgeniy Bogachev and Aleksey Belan and Evgeniy Bogachev, who were both placed on an individual sanctions list near the end of Barack Obama's presidential term over allegedly taking part in cyberattacks against the United States, to now attack McCain servers and tap his calls.
"Thank you very much for that information and I will certainly be aware as to the content of my conversations as far as any national, security issues are concerned… We'll win this fight," the senator responded.
McCain added that, following Trump's phone call with Putin in January in which sanctions weren't mentioned, he thought it'd be unlikely that the president would agree on the issue of more sanctions.
The Senator assured the pranksters that US State Secretary Rex Tillerson, who's a personal acquaintance of Putin, wouldn't interfere due to the effect it could have of his approval in Senate, despite his loyalty to Putin.
Tillerson faced a record number of senators opposing the presidential pick when he was confirmed in Senate early this month by a margin of 56 to 43.
McCain went on to promise to supply arms to Kiev after the pranksters divulged phony information of Ukrainian plans to recapture Donetsk from eastern militias.
The pranksters also made a similar call to McCain's ally Lindsey Graham and focused on the issues of sanctions and Trump's policies.
During the call with the fake prime minister and speaker, Graham assured them that whilst Trump could revoke Obama's sanctions, he wouldn't be able to do the same with sanctions passed by Congress after Crimea's reunification with Russia.
The senator said they had the full backing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May on the continued US sanctions.
Graham and McCain were among four senators who called on Congress in December to launch an investigation into the alleged Russian hacking scandal during the 2016 US Presidential elections.
Following this, they later said they had planned push for stronger sanctions against Russia in the new Congress under Trump.
Mitch McConnell expressed doubts over the success of the initiative but confirmed that the Senate will, however, continue to work on measures to obstruct any potential moves by Trump to get rid of the sanctions.