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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 8th, 2013
04:42 PM ET

McCain: Russia has reset relations ... back to 1955

President Barack Obama this week cancelled his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, following Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, who has admitted leaking secrets about U.S. national security surveillance.

The administration's hopes for a "reset" relationship with Russia have proved complicated and in some cases discouraging.

Washington and Moscow have disagreements on missile defense, Syria, missile reductions, economic and trade issues, and human rights issues. Obama also recently criticized Russia's anti-gay propaganda law.

"The Russians have reset, they've reset alright, back to about 1955," said Republican Sen. John McCain, who has been a vocal critic of Russia and Putin in the past.

McCain said the United States needs to do more than cancel a meeting, such as expand the Magnitsky Act, legislation passed in 2012 that seeks to punish Russians implicated in human rights abuses.

McCain also suggested the United States seek a free trade agreement with the Europeans so they won't be so dependent on Russian oil, bring Georgia into NATO, and have U.S. missile defenses placed in Europe.

"It's not confrontation, it is just a realistic approach to a country that is not acting in the interest of world peace," said McCain.

The Arizona senator recently returned from a trip to Egypt with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, where he called the military’s ouster of former President Mohamed Morsy a coup.

The administration is not characterizing it the same way because doing so would, under U.S. law, require a discontinuance of military aid to Egypt.

"If you have a situation where a military takes over the government and puts in jail incommunicado the elected leadership of the country, then that can only be described as a coup," said McCain.

"Morsy abused his power enormously. The people rose up and said in very strong terms it was unacceptable, but the fact is that it was a coup," said McCain.

McCain is calling on Egypt to have a dialogue and reconciliation, release political prisoners, and renounce violence by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Asked if Obama and his administration should call the overthrow a coup, McCain said, "I certainly think so."

"I don't think it means we cannot promise to resume aid when they have a constitution and free elections, it doesn't mean that it could impair our ability to work with them," added McCain.

For more of our interview with Sen. John McCain, including which movie he thinks best depicts the recent 'bromance' between he and Obama, click on the video above.

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