Putin: 'I like Senator McCain'

Putin: 'I like Senator McCain'
© Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Sen. John McCainJohn McCainBush biographer: Trump has moved the goalpost for civilized society White House to pressure McConnell on ObamaCare McCain: Trump needs to state difference between bigots and those fighting hate MORE (R-Ariz.), a leading Russia hawk, during his interviews for an upcoming Showtime interview special, saying, "I like Senator McCain ... And I’m not joking."

McCain is one of the leaders of the Republican charge to increase sanctions against Russia over election tampering.

Putin makes the comments in newly released clips from "The Putin Interviews," a multi-night special featuring film director Oliver Stone interviewing the man McCain has called a "murderer and a thug who seeks to undermine American national security interests at every turn."

ADVERTISEMENT
Of McCain, Putin says, "Well, honestly, I like Senator McCain to a certain extent. And I’m not joking. I like him because of his patriotism, and I can relate to his consistency in fighting for the interests of his own country."

Putin compares him to the famed Roman Senator Cato the Elder, who opposed Greek cultural influence in Rome and, Putin notes, "always finished his speeches using the same words, 'Carthage must be destroyed.'"

The Russian leader says that stringent "Old World" mindset he praised as patriotic also makes McCain somewhat of a tragic figure, "reluctant to look into the future, unwilling to recognize how fast the world is changing" and unable to "see the real threat."

The consensus view of U.S. intelligence agencies agreed with by most cybersecurity experts is that Russia conducted broad information warfare campaigns against America during the 2016 campaign, blending hacked emails from Democrats with misinformation.