The resignation of disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has shifted questions about the Trump team's potential collusion with Russia into overdrive. Although most Republicans have resisted meaningful investigations, at least one prominent Republican is ready to make the next logical leap.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has shown some integrity about seeking accountability for Russia’s intrusion into the U.S. presidential election, especially when compared to other Republicans, but even he has been publicly skeptical about the fact that Russia absolutely did affect the outcome in Donald Trump’s favor.
This week’s bombshell revelations have apparently had some effect on McCain, however, as this response to the Boston Globe indicates (emphasis added):
“I can’t say with confidence on anything except that this is a serious issue and has to be addressed,” said GOP Senator John McCain of Arizona, when asked whether he felt confident President Trump was not involved in directing Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russia.
“The president’s national security adviser did not tell the vice president of the United States the truth and had to be fired,’’ McCain said. “That brings up a lot of questions, and those questions need to be answered.”
McCain said the chaos in the White House has left the country “dysfunctional” when it comes to national security, putting the United States at risk.
Given the circumstances, most reasonable people would conclude that it is at least possible that Trump directed Flynn to call the Russians, but for a Republican to be open to that possibility is remarkable, indeed. In another statement, McCain raised the alarm about what the Flynn episode reveals in Trump’s policies toward Russia:
“General Flynn’s resignation also raises further questions about the Trump administration’s intentions toward Vladimir Putin’s Russia, including statements by the President suggesting moral equivalence between the United States and Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, threats to our NATO allies, and attempted interference in American elections,” McCain said in a statement.
Accountability is coming for Trump and his associates, in one form or another. The six-agency task force investigating the Trump/Russia ties and the intelligence intercepts that have been publicized recently will see to that.
But if Democrats are to hold Trump accountable in the full light of day, with public hearings in Congress, they will need to be joined by Republicans. McCain’s stance is a step in that direction.