The president's highly-publicized feud with the late John McCain continues despite the senator's death in 2018. For the second time in two days, President Donald Trump attacked McCain on Twitter over allegations it was an associate of the late senator who'd shared a dossier alleging collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia with both the FBI and the media. According to multiple media outlets, allegations regarding the source of the dossier's leak remain unverified.
"So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) 'last in his class' (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election," Trump tweeted Sunday. "He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!"
The president was referring to a recent Fox News story, which alleged that recently unsealed court filings from an ongoing libel case brought against BuzzFeed News by a Russian businessman included declarations regarding the source of the leaked dossier. In one filing, former State Department official and McCain associate David Kramer said he'd been given the dossier by its author, former British spy Christopher Steele. According to Fox News, Kramer said he provided the dossier to multiple media outlets but that it was McCain who passed the dossier on to then-FBI Director James Comey. In a separate filing, former senior counterintelligence FBI agent Bill Priestap reportedly confirmed that McCain had given the FBI the first 33 pages of the dossier in December 2016.
But reports that it was McCain who'd handed the dossier over to the FBI aren't exactly groundbreaking. In fact, McCain detailed why he'd passed the controversial dossier to the FBI in his book, The Restless Wave, which was released last year. "The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true," The Daily Beast reported McCain wrote of receiving the dossier in The Restless Wave. "I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation’s security should have done."
Kramer's claim that he provided the dossier to journalists has not been verified.
Trump also lashed out at the late Arizona senator on Saturday, characterizing his 2017 decision to oppose legislation that would repeal former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act without providing a replacement as a "stain" on his character. "Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier 'is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain,'" Trump tweeted, quoting former independent counsel Ken Starr who is known for having investigated then-President Bill Clinton. "He had far worse 'stains' than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!"
While Trump characterized McCain's vote as a vote against "repeal and replace," Republicans so called "skinny repeal" bill did not include a replacement component.
McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, has pushed back on the president's continued attacks against her father. "My father lives rent free in your head," she tweeted at Trump on Sunday.
The View co-host had also responded to Trump's initial tweet Saturday, tweeting: "No one will ever love you the way they loved my father... I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine?"