(Bloomberg) — President Trump continued his attack on John McCain for a second day, tweeting again about the role the late Arizona Republican senator played in sharing the so-called Steele Dossier with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the media.
McCain gave a copy of the first 33 pages of the dossier to the FBI in December 2016, which Fox News said was confirmed by former senior counterintelligence FBI agent Bill Priestap in a newly released filing. British intelligence officer Christopher Steele assembled the dossier that allegedly suggested a coordinated Russian effort to help Trump win the presidency.
In January 2017, McCain issued a statement saying he’d been given a copy of the dossier. “Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the director of the FBI.”
The late senator, a onetime Navy pilot who was North Vietnam’s most prominent prisoner of war, died of cancer about seven months ago. Sunday marked the second straight day that Trump tweeted about McCain’s role in spreading the information.
The tweets started on Saturday when Trump quoted what former independent counsel Ken Starr, who headed the investigation into the Clinton administration, said about McCain on Fox & Friends. Trump ended his tweet with a reference to McCain’s vote against the GOP Senate majority in the attempt to repeal Obamacare in 2017.
McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain responded to Trump’s tweet on Saturday.
In response to Trump’s tweet Sunday, she added that “my father lives rent free in your head.” She later deleted the tweet.
McCain was Trump’s most potent critic, willing to oppose the president even when it shook Capitol Hill. Trump and McCain got off on bad footing from the start of the president’s campaign, when in July 2015 Trump derided the most renowned element of the senator’s biography — his years-long captivity and torture during the Vietnam War. McCain was only a war hero “because he was captured,” Trump famously declared at a conservative conference, adding “I like people who weren’t captured.”
James Comey, the FBI director fired by Trump, has rejected suggestions that the Russia investigation was prompted by allegations in the dossier.
“It was not,” Comey told House lawmakers in December. Rather, he said, the basis for starting the probe was the information about a conversation that a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser — known to be George Papadopolous — “had with an individual in London about stolen emails that the Russians had that would be harmful to Hillary Clinton.”
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—With assistance from Larry Liebert.
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