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‘They May Destroy Democracy.’ John McCain Warns of Russian Election Hack Aftermath

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Arizona Senator John McCain said Sunday that Russian hacking during the 2016 election threatens to “destroy democracy.”

The Republican chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee pushed for a special select committee to investigate the CIA’s finding that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and a top Hillary Clinton aide in an effort to help elect Donald Trump as President.

“We need a select committee,” McCain said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We need to get to the bottom of this. We need to find out exactly what was done and what the implications of the attacks were, especially if they had an effect on our election.”

McCain mocked President Obama’s news conference on Friday, in which Obama said he told Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out.”

“There’s no doubt they were interfering and no doubt it was a cyberattack. The question now is how much and what damage and what should the United States of America do? And so far, we’ve been totally paralyzed,” McCain said. “I’m sure that when Vladimir Putin was told quote ‘cut it out’ unquote, I’m sure that Vladimir Putin immediately stopped all cyberactivities. The truth is, they are hacking every single day.”

McCain’s calls for investigation by a special committee into the cyberattacks have been rejected by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who want Senate and House committees already in existence to conduct the investigation.

Trump, meanwhile, has not accepted the CIA’s finding, which was backed by the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence on Friday. Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming White House Chief of Staff, said on Fox News Sunday that the President-elect would acknowledge the conclusion when intelligence agencies release a report.

“I think he would accept the conclusion if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report and show the American people they’re actually on the same page as opposed to third parties through the Washington Post,” Priebus said. “I think that these guys should be straight with the American people and come out and say it. I don’t think they’re been clear about it.”

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com