POLITICS
02/02/2018 12:55 EST | Updated 02/05/2018 10:20 EST

Sen. John McCain On Nunes Memo Release: 'We Are Doing Putin's Job For Him'

The Arizona senator blasted the memo, which President Donald Trump declassified against the wishes of the intelligence community.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered a harsh rebuke against fellow Republicans who agreed to release a memo by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes against the wishes of the U.S. intelligence community.

Nunes on Friday released the memo after President Donald Trump declassified it. The memo alleges that officials at the FBI and Department of Justice displayed active bias against the Trump campaign in the early stages of the Russia investigation, which was later taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller. 

In a statement shortly before the memo’s release, McCain didn’t pull any punches. 

“In 2016, the Russian government engaged in an elaborate plot to interfere in an American election and undermine our democracy,” McCain said. “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 Russia’s interference has, at best, sown political discord and succeeded in “dividing us from each other.” Attacking the intelligence community is not how to fix the discord, he said.

Ahead of its impending releases, the FBI took the extraordinary step of issuing a public statement to express its “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

“The latest attacks against the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests ― no party’s, no President’s, only Putin’s,” McCain added. “The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan to demand that Nunes be removed from his position.

“Congressman Nunes’ deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman, and he must be removed immediately from his position,” she said.