The president hurled a series of unfounded allegations at the former Arizona senator this week on social media, claiming new court documents revealed he personally delivered the infamous dossier containing information against Mr Trump “to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election”.
“He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual),” Mr Trump wrote on Sunday morning. “Even the Fake News refused this garbage!”
Mr Trump’s comments appear to be an attempt to concoct a scandal surrounding the late senator.
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Mr McCain previously confirmed he provided a copy of the dossier that was created by Christopher Steele, a British spy, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2017, before passing away a year later from a rare form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.
Mr McCain has denied providing a copy of the document to media outlets. The court documents Mr Trump is referring to in his tweets actually state that the dossier was provided to BuzzFeed by David Kramer.
Mr Kramer is a former official who worked at the US State Department and currently serves as the senior director for human rights and human freedoms at the McCain Institute.
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. He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
While a newly unsealed court filing from September appears to confirm that Mr McCain did in fact share a copy of the dossier with former senior counterintelligence FBI agent Bill Priestap, a separate court filing confirms the dossier was provided to media by Mr Kramer.
The Daily Caller, a right-wing website that first reported on the court filings, which stem from a Russian businessman’s libel lawsuit against BuzzFeed, described Mr Kramer as a “longtime associate” of Mr McCain.
The president took the connection between Mr Kramer and Mr McCain a step further on Sunday, claiming the senator was personally involved in providing the document to the media — despite failing to provide any evidence to support such accusations.
It was the second criticism Mr Trump made of Mr McCain in a single week, following longstanding and public tensions he’s held for the career politician and military veteran.
On Friday, he quoted a Fox News contributor and the Independent Counsel during Bill Clinton’s presidency, writing, “Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.”
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? https://t.co/q7ezwmHiQ4
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain)
“He had far worse ‘stains’ than this,” Mr Trump added, “including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!”
That received a rebuke from the late senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, who responded on Twitter, writing, “No one will ever love you the way they loved my father.”
“I wish I had been given more Saturdays with him,” she added. “Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on Twitter obsessing over mine?”
Mr Trump also attacked Saturday Night Live, asking whether the Federal Election Commission should "look into" whether the comedy show is colluding with the Democratic Party, and pleaded with Fox News audiences to demand the return of one of the outlet's controversial hosts, Judge Jeanine Pirro, a loyal supporter of the president's who has been absent since suggesting Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's hijab indicates she is against the US Constitution.