Senator John McCain has been caught breaking the law and flaunting national security in a leaked audio recording in which he discusses possible White House sanctions against Russia and secretly negotiates with a pair of Russian hackers.
In a recorded telephone conversation in which McCain thinks he is speaking to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, the senator sets out to negotiate possible sanctions against Russia behind President Trump’s back.
On February 16th, the YouTube channel run by Lexus and Vovan posted the audio of a conversation with John McCain, in which the senator clearly commits sedition and defies The Logan Act – a law which prohibits anybody from negotiating with a foreign government in a way that could undermine the U.S. government.
The embarrassing leak comes just days after Vovan and Lexus fooled U.S. congresswoman Marine Waters into thinking she was talking to Volodymyr Groysman too.
Leaked Audio: Russian hackers prank senator John McCain
Transcript of John McCain conversation with Russian hackers:
John McCain: Hello Mr Prime Minister, how are you?
Russian Hackers: Good, how are you?
McCain: I’ve been reading about the new attack in the eastern part of your country by Vladimir Putin.
Hackers: Its really a really hard situation, thats why I would like to say thank you for supporting us in this hard time. Its really helpful.
McCain: I’m putting out a statement today and a letter to the president saying that its important to us to provide lethal defensive weapons to your country and do it immediately. It is authorised in the legislation we passed last year.
Hackers: I would like to talk to you about sanctions. Especially sanctions against Russia. We have heard you may be aware of the fact that our country has sanctions against Russia. We are disappointed to hear the U.S. wants to leave the sanctions.
McCain: The Washington Post has an excellent editorial this morning that there is an absolute requirement to respond to the renewed activities. The title is “Rockets fall on Ukraine.”
Hackers: That is true. And our town had a lot of damage from the Russian army.
McCain: Well, I’m sending a letter to the president to urge him to announce the provision of lethal defensive weapons to your country. None of us are surprised that Putin should decide to test the new president.
Hackers: I agree totally. I hope that president Trump will press on Putin because of this event.
McCain: I will do everything I can to be of assistance.
Hackers: I heard you want to make new sanctions. We plan to make new sanctions against Russia because of the hacking attacks. We want to make the same law in our parliament.
McCain: I have to be very frank with the prime minister. I do not know what the president will do. Apparently he is not for removing sanctions. As you know we in the senate and congress have stated that if he relaxes those sanctions, we will act legislatively. It is a fact that Putin tried to affect the outcome of the election. I will keep you informed as i hear about decisions made at he White House. We will continue to advocate for maintaining sanctions and increasing sanctions. I have to tell you my friend, I cannot predict what Trump will do. We must keep the pressure on.
Hackers: Is Trump friends with Putin?
McCain: I am encouraged that after his conversation with Putin there was no comment on sanctions. I think the important person right now is Tillerson, who, although friends with Putin at one time, must be very careful because of the process of his confirmation, he has to handle his sanctions issue. He will be cautious. General Mattis is in favour of sanctions and he is influential. I will do everything i can. I wish I could predict more about what trump is going to do. The fact he has not said anything since becoming president may give us some optimism. These are the most challenging times.
Hackers: We also worried about the fate of NATO and the EU. We are afraid the U.S. will leave. We want to become members of these two unions. What should we do to become members?
McCain: I think you should state your strong commitment to being a member of NATO. I don’t think anything is going to happen until the whole issue of US-Russia relations is settled. You and I know Putin isn’t ready to stop aggression against you or the Baltic’s and Syria. So, in the long run we’re going to be challenging times which means there will be more support for Ukraine membership in NATO.
Hackers: We have information that Putin is preparing a series of compromising material on you. He will spread information that you have collaborated with the Russian secret service and got recruited while in captivity in Vietnam.
McCain: I will look forward to that. I thank you prime minister and look forward to them revealing how I was brainwashed by our Vietnamese friends. I’d be very interested finding out more about that.
Hackers: We got secret information that Russia and Putin are planning hacking attacks on your personal servers and Putin has issued an order to Russian hackers and pranksters that they want to make attacks on your phone line.
McCain: I thank you very much for that information and I will certainly be aware as to the content of my conversations as far as any national security issues are concerned. We will win this fight.
Hackers: Last question. New sanctions. Are you going to make sanctions against Putin or his advisers?
McCain: I think its against advisers and companies that engage in these activities. Our first challenge is to make sure the existing sanctions are not lifted.
Hackers: Are you worried they could be?
McCain: I’ve been encouraged by the presidents comments so far.
Hackers: Could you tell us any persons in the sanctions list?
McCain: We haven’t got that far yet. Primarily it is sanctions against their commercial activities and banking and financial institutions. I can get that to you.