WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain called reports that President Donald Trump asked top intelligence officials to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia "troubling" Tuesday, comparing the allegations to the plot of a "lousy movie."
In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash at the Peterson Fiscal Summit, the Arizona senator stressed he doesn't want to leap to conclusions. But he did note that he considers Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, one of the officials to whom Trump reportedly made the request, to be "a very straightforward individual."
McCain was speaking just before Coats appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which he chairs.
He noted that the new report is only the latest revelation in what has now been more than a week of bombshell news related to the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
McCain compared the compounding new reports to a "centipede" -- as in, many shoes continue to fall amid the steady drumbeat of developments -- and said the constant influx of news has "absorbed the attention" and distracted from the very important national security issues facing the United States.
The 2008 GOP presidential nominee said he respected Flynn's right to plead the Fifth Amendment in response to the Senate investigation. He also offered some advice to Trump, outlining two "templates" that the investigation could follow: Watergate or the probe into Iran-Contra, a scandal for which President Ronald Reagan expressed contrition.
"Get it all out and, if necessary, apologize. Americans are very forgiving," McCain said. "We don't expect perfect people and we're a very forgiving nation."
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