Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was left "almost speechless" over remarks allegedly made by President Donald Trump to Russian officials in which he described ousted FBI Director James Comey as "a real nut job".
"I'm almost speechless, because I don't know why someone would say something like that," McCain said during an interview on Fox News Sunday.
The New York Times reported Friday (19 May) that Trump told Lavrov that Comey was a "nut job" and that he hoped that his firing would relieve pressure from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump allegedly told Lavrov. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."
McCain, a frequent critic of the president and his administration, criticised the Trump administration for having a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the White House, Politico reported. He described Lavrov as "nothing but a propagandist" who "had no business in the Oval Office".
"He's acted in the most thuggish and outrageous fashion and he has no business in the Oval Office," McCain said. "Not this stooge Lavrov, who is nothing by a propagandist."
When asked if Comey's firing was an effort by the Trump administration to impede the FBI's Russia probe, McCain said he did not know. "I don't think it was a wise thing to do," he said. "Mr Comey was highly respected and highly regarded, and so I can't explain it."
The Arizona Republican also elaborated on comments he previously made, in which he said the ongoing scandals surrounding the White House were reaching "Watergate size and scale". McCain said that the appointment of a special counsel means "we're not at that stage of a scandal, and now the question is, how is it handled?"
"Is it handled the way Watergate was, where drip, drip, drip, every day," or "do we handle it like Ronald Reagan handled Iran-Contra?" McCain said. "It's a scandal, he fired people, he went on national television and said we made mistakes, we did wrong and we're not going to do it again, and the American people let him move forward."
According to Politico, McCain also said the leaks coming out of the administration have been "outrageous" and a "betrayal". He added: "It's a violation of the law to leak classified information, and, therefore, they should be held accountable."