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U.S. Senator John McCain Dies at 81; Pope Speaks Out against Sexual Abuse. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired August 26, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We continue following the breaking news this hour. The death of the U.S. senator John McCain. I'm George Howell.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm Cyril Vanier. Welcome to viewers here in the United States and around the world.
HOWELL: John McCain served in the U.S. Senate for more than 30 years, six terms in that role. And many people in the U.S. and around the world know this man by that nickname, the Maverick.
VANIER: That is right. Absolutely.
HOWELL: Senator McCain passed away on Saturday afternoon. He was at his home near Sedona, Arizona. He was surrounded by his family in his final hour.
VANIER: He had just recently discontinued treatment for cancer. People knew that this moment would come. But still, it did not make it easier for the many who knew him, who admired him and who loved him. His Senate colleagues remember him as a giant, politically conservative but fiercely principled and independent.
HOWELL: And McCain's absence was felt this year in the U.S. Senate due to declining health. A true warrior, though, until the end. He battled this aggressive form of brain cancer that was first diagnosed back in 2017.
VANIER: McCain served as a U.S. Navy aviator for more than 20 years. He was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. He was captured and held there as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
HOWELL: That did not change his spirit. After he returned, he turned to politics after the war. He ran for president twice and, in 2008, he became the Republican nominee, eventually losing to the former president, Barack Obama.
Shortly after the news of his death broke, a procession here, you can see the vehicles escorting the hearse from the property to the city of Phoenix, Arizona.
VANIER: McCain's wife, Cindy, sent a tweet, saying "My heart is broken. I'm so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best.
HOWELL: We get more now from Dana Bash, a look back at the distinguished political career of Senator John McCain.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His dramatic Senate return against doctors' orders after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
MCCAIN: I've been a member of the United States Senate for 30 years.
BASH: His late night thumbs down that single handedly crushed his party's push to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
John McCain's last big moment in the political spotlight captured so many of the complexities of his character. A stubborn man who survived many a brush with death, who spent a lifetime looking for moments to shine as a leader and put country first. Yet forever a hotdog fighter pilot with dramatic flair and white knuckle political instincts.
John Sydney McCain III was born with a storied legacy of service to live up to. His father and grandfather were both four-star admirals.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C.: His father and grandfather instilled in him a sense of duty, honor and country.
BASH: Young McCain's passion was literature. He was a voracious reader all his life.
MCCAIN: Hemingway's always been my favorite author in many ways, a larger-than-life figure that I always admired a lot.
BASH: Yet McCain followed the path of larger-than-life figures in his own family. Enrolling at the Naval Academy where he stood out for being a troublemaker. Not a future leader.
MCCAIN: I'm the guy that stood fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.
BASH: He became a fighter pilot. His first combat mission during the Vietnam War was aboard the USS Forestall.
On deck his plane was accidentally struck by a missile causing a huge inferno, 134 fellow sailors died. A few months later McCain was on a routine bombing mission. His plane was shot down.
MCCAIN: I was gyrating very violently almost straight down so I had to eject very quickly. I was knocked unconscious.
BASH: He found himself surrounded by angry villagers swinging bayonets. The North Vietnamese forced him to give this interview in exchange for life-saving treatment.
MCCAIN: I'm treated well here.
BASH: He was taken as a prisoner of war and tortured.
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: He was beaten on a regular basis. You know, being hung by his arms from a ceiling. Sockets pulled out.
BASH: When his father, Jack McCain, was named commander of U.S. Pacific Forces, the Vietnamese offered John McCain freedom. He refused. It would have broken POW protocol, release in order of capture.
MCCAIN: There was a correlation between my refusal to accept early release and my treatment. The treatment got very much worse.
BASH: Ultimately, they broke McCain --
BASH: -- getting him to sign a statement admitting to claims against him which he regretted the rest of his life.
JOHN WEAVER, POLITICAL CONSULTANT FOR MCCAIN 2000, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS: After he signed it, I think he wanted just to die.
BASH (on camera): Because he felt so disloyal?
WEAVER: He felt -- he felt shame. That he had let the country down.
BASH (voice-over): Finally after nearly 5 1/2 years in prison, McCain was released. WEAVER: You still see the impact of that today. The way he was tied.
You know, the way he can't raise his arms. His hands. Can't comb his hair. The things that we take for granted.
BASH: His marriage to first wife, Carol, who waited anxiously for McCain while imprisoned, fell apart. Captain McCain became a naval liaison to the U.S. Senate where he caught the political bug. In 1982 he ran for the House from Arizona. Home with new wife, Cindy and won.
Four years later it was on to the U.S. Senate. Early on controversy. The Keating 5. McCain and four other senators met regulators investigating the failed savings and loan bank of Charles Keating, a McCain contributor.
MCCAIN: I am, of course, relieved that I have been exonerated.
BASH: An investigation cleared McCain of wrongdoing, but rebuked him for poor judgment. The episode sent McCain on a crusade to clean up Washington. Pushing campaign finance reform, fighting big tobacco, railing against earmarks.
MCCAIN: That's our obligation and our duty to the American people.
BASH: Everything with passion. Humor.
JOE LIEBERMAN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: He's very direct. He's also very funny. Has a way of sort of teasing people he likes.
MCCAIN: And thanks for the question, you little jerk. He was a little jerk.
BASH: And a famous temper.
GRAHAM: And be a complete jerk to his closest friends and hug you dearly next.
BASH: In the fall of 1999, McCain announced his candidacy for president. As an underdog, he got attention by being constantly available to reporters aboard his bus, the Straight Talk Express.
He trounced frontrunner George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary but then lost South Carolina where it got ugly and personal. McCain soon dropped out and returned to the Senate even more determined to work across the aisle with Democrats like Ted Kennedy on issues like a patient's bill of rights and immigration reform.
MCCAIN: I announce my candidacy for president of the United States.
BASH: In 2008, his second presidential bid. This time, he was the heir apparent, but McCain's support for a surge of troops in Iraq and bipartisan work on immigration reform hit him with GOP voters. His poll numbers plunged. He held town halls in New Hampshire, talked border security instead of immigration reform and climbed back.
(On camera): The fact that you're getting a second chance, sir, what does that say to you?
MCCAIN: It means that we are happy with how far we've come.
BASH: After securing the GOP nomination, he had to pick a running mate. Close friend, Democrat turned independent, Joe Lieberman was his first choice.
LIEBERMAN: So I hear.
BASH (on camera): He never told you that?
LIEBERMAN: No, he did.
BASH (voice-over): Aides convinced McCain that Lieberman's support for abortion rights made it impossible.
McCain still went bold. First-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin. At first, Palin helped McCain draw conservative support he was lacking. But after some bizarre interviews, many campaign aides considered her a liability.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States.
BASH: McCain would never say he regretted choosing Palin.
(On camera): He doesn't talk about it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, ever. And he never will.
BASH (voice-over): The economic collapse in September 2008 ultimately sealed McCain's defeat. Still, he worked to stay out of gutter politics, taking the mike from a voter who claimed Barack Obama was Arab.
MCCAIN: No, ma'am.
BASH: And giving a concession speech that marked the historic moment for the country.
MCCAIN: This is an historic election. And I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
BASH: McCain settled into life as a senior statesman, fulfilled the dream of becoming Senate Armed Services chairman and traveled around the world every chance he got. An informal diplomat and an informed senator.
When President Trump was elected, McCain took it upon himself to reassure world leaders, visiting 26 countries and four continents in the first six months of 2017, alone.
Even at age 80, McCain liked to travel with and mentor younger senators in both parties forging close relationships.
GRAHAM: He is loyal to his friends, he loves his country and if he
has to stand up to his party for his country, so be it. He would die for this country. I love him to death.
BASH: His July 2017 brain cancer diagnosis and treatment for it forced McCain to slow down, but he hated --
BASH: -- pity. This is how he always wanted to be remembered. Paraphrasing his political hero, Teddy Roosevelt.
MCCAIN: I've had the most wonderful life and career that anybody you will ever meet. Thank you.
BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VANIER: John McCain did not shy from criticizing President Trump when he felt it was warranted. Mr. Trump, who never served in the military, was widely criticized for belittling McCain's 5.5 years as a prisoner of war.
HOWELL: After McCain died, Trump tweeted this, "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!"
The former U.S. president, Barack Obama, ran against John McCain for the office of president in 2008. Mr. Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, released a statement saying this in part.
"We shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher, the ideals for which generations and Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed."
It goes on to say, "We saw our political battles even as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those higher ideals at home and to advance them around the world."
VANIER: The Obamas also wrote, "Few of us have been tested the way John once was or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt.
"Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family."
HOWELL: Let's talk more about the life, the legacy and the death of Senator John McCain with CNN military analyst, retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joining us from the U.S. state of Oregon.
Lt. Col. Rick Francona, thank you again for being with us. Let's start with the nexus between your world and Senator McCain's, military service. In fact, I believe we have an image of you standing side-by- side with John McCain. We will see it in a moment.
There it is.
How do you feel military service helped to shape the life of the U.S. senator?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think it was key. In fact, you know, if you look at his early life, his service to the country began as a young midshipman at the Naval Academy in the 1950s. And it shaped his whole life.
He graduated and, as he liked to say, you know, the fifth lowest from the class but he did graduate. He became an aviator. And as you know and as we all know, he spent 5.5 years in a prison in North Vietnam. I think all those experiences were formative and made him the man he became, not only a war hero but a gifted politician that was able to straddle the divide that we have in politics. HOWELL: You yourself a Vietnam veteran and you were involved in the POW return operation in 1973. I want to talk specifically about John McCain's capture, shot down over North Vietnam and held captive.
And when offered the opportunity for early release, he refused. He stayed for another several years and endured more punishing torture.
FRANCONA: Yes, you know, the -- his father became the commander of U.S. forces in Southeast Asia and the Vietnamese were looking for a propaganda score so they offered to release him.
And he refused because it violated the POW protocol. You are released in the order in which you were captured. He refused, knowing that would cause him additional pain and additional torture.
He did it anyway and that is a testament to his character, you know, that same character we saw before and after.
HOWELL: For many people around the world, people remember him for his run for U.S. president, maybe people in the state of Arizona know him for the positions that he took, standing up for that state.
I would pose for you, what do you think would be the thing that stands out in your mind, remembering this senator?
FRANCONA: I think his overcoming adversity. I mean, the way he was treated in captivity, the torture that he believes broke him but it made him the man he became. He was able to overcome that, come back and attain the rank of captain in the Navy, commanded one of the largest flying squadrons in the Navy, go into politics and not only become a congressman but a senator.
But a senator that was well respected by both sides of the aisle, just a testament to an American legend.
HOWELL: Lt. Col. Rick Francona, thank you so much for your time and perspective on remembering this American hero. Thank you.
VANIER: John McCain often reached across the aisle --
VANIER: -- to get things done. He said working together doesn't mean abandoning one's principles.
HOWELL: That is right. In one of his last speeches on the Senate be floor, McCain implored his colleagues to work together and reminded them of what happens when they don't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZ.: Merely preventing your political opponents from doing what they want isn't the most inspiring work. There's greater satisfaction in respecting our differences, but not letting them prevent agreements that don't require abandonment of core principles, agreements made in good faith that help improve lives and protect the American people. The Senate is capable of that. We know that. We've seen it before. I've seen it happen many times. And the times when I was involved even in a modest way with working out a bipartisan response to a national problem or threat are the proudest moments of my career and by far the most satisfying.
This place is important. The work we do is important. Our strange rules and seemingly eccentric practices that slow our proceedings and insist on our cooperation are important. Our founders envisioned the Senate as the more deliberative, careful body that operates at a greater distance than the other body from the public passions of the hour.
We are an important check on the powers of the Executive. Our consent is necessary for the President to appoint jurists and powerful government officials and in many respects to conduct foreign policy. Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President's subordinates. We are his equal!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: It was interesting to hear, the person that embodied the spirit of bipartisanship, was not in Washington for the last year, since December.
VANIER: That was the last speech we saw on the Senate floor that he made.
HOWELL: During that time, continued to speak out on things that he disagreed with, with the Republican Party and with the U.S. president, even while fighting his cancer.
VANIER: Pretty much until his final hour.
HOWELL: Our coverage continues after the break, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I am a disciple of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. I strongly believe in the principles and philosophy of the Republican Party and there's no reason for me to leave it, no matter what my presidential fortunes should be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: He survived plane crashes and being taken captive in war and skin cancer. But, in the end, he succumbed to an aggressive form of brain cancer. He died Saturday at the age of 81. HOWELL: McCain was a Navy bomber pilot in the Vietnam War. He escaped death in a massive fire aboard an aircraft carrier and was shot down in his Skyhawk jet over North Vietnam. He was captured, tortured and beaten severely.
VANIER: He later served his country in Washington, in the House and the Senate. And he twice ran for president. He died at his Arizona ranch, his family at his side. An official statement from McCain's office saying, at his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 60 years.
HOWELL: I spoke earlier with veteran journalist Dan Rather. As a reporter, Dan covered Senator McCain extensively and I asked his thoughts about the passing of this U.S. senator.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DAN RATHER, JOURNALIST: I think I first met him sometime in the 1970s. The thing about John McCain was, you know, he would be the first to say he wasn't perfect, which is to say he was human. But he always valued service to country above anything else.
He considered himself a loyal Republican but as a U.S. senator and before that a representative, he prided himself on, I guess, you could say his iconoclasm. That he was his own man, did his own thinking.
He was loyal to the party when he felt he could be and that was an overwhelming amount of the time. When he felt he couldn't be, he made it clear, he spoke up, there was no peeking and no hiding with John McCain.
What we have here -- we, as a country, we have lost one of our iconic political leaders with the passing of John McCain. He was a brave man, as evidenced by his experience during the Vietnam War, a hero by any reasonable analysis of that term. A public servant. He was a warrior, a public servant. He was exactly the kind of person that everybody hopes is in the US Congress, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican or something in between or outside.
He is exactly the kind of person that you always hoped will be representing us in Washington. I knew John, I knew him well enough to admire many of his qualities from up close, having covered him over the years. Not saying well enough to call him an actual friend. He had many close friends and I am mourning with them and his family of course.
HOWELL: Dan, you put forward a statement, I want to read part of it. In part you say, "McCain was controversial and far from perfect."
In short, you say he was human.
"But at best he was frequent, he echoed the highest traditions and ideals of American democracy. He voted his conscience. He spoke out fiercely against the current regime."
It does speak, as you were mentioning here, to the polarity right now. It seems that there's not really much room for middle ground.
But again, you see John McCain, he was a man who did reach across the aisle. He was who stood for partisanship.
RATHER: And that's the point. I said, he always was country first. He was loyal to his party, as I say, when he could be.
But he was never one of those people whose first consideration was how is this going to affect me?
How is it going to affect my political future?
And furthermore, he was never one who said, "Well, I need to do what the party wants me to do or what the party line is."
It was always country first with him.
We speak a lot, often offhandedly, about --
RATHER: -- honor and integrity and John McCain had this deep within himself and part of that was always reflected, he was always thinking country first.
And when you look around today, finding people in public service, in elected public office, who take that view of the first priority is the country, well, the best we can say is we better hope we get more John McCains.
HOWELL: Again, veteran journalist, Dan Rather, speaking earlier.
VANIER: Great perspective there from someone who would know.
Stay with us, we will be right back. We have more on the incredible life and legacy of John McCain after this.
VANIER: And we continue to follow the breaking news, the death of U.S. senator John McCain. I'm Cyril Vanier.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. Welcome back to viewers in the U.S. and around the world.
Senator McCain died at the age of 81 years old. His family announced on Friday that he had decided to stop treatment for brain cancer.
VANIER: McCain is being praised across the political spectrum. He served his country for six decades, first as a naval officer. He was also a prisoner of war and then he was a statesman. We get more now from CNN's Stephanie Elam, outside the McCain home in Arizona.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator John McCain passed away late --
ELAM: -- in the afternoon here in Sedona, Arizona, at his beloved cabin here in this beautiful part of the country, as the skies became increasingly cloudy and we saw spots of rain fall in this part of Arizona.
According to the statement that was put out by his office, he was surrounded by his wife, Cindy, and family members and they also noted that, at his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 60 years.
Since the news of his passing has spread, we've seen people come by, some dropping off flowers. We watched one couple leave an American flag here outside of the property we understand Senator McCain loves so much.
Just really an outpouring of admiration and love for the senator, a man who was elected six times to represent the state of Arizona in the U.S. Senate.
And as we were standing out here we saw, as a parade of SUVs arrived, led by a procession of police officers on motorcycles and a hearse. And then not so much longer after that we also saw that same procession leave the property here.
And from what we understand the senator was very much a part of planning how he wanted to be remembered and also planning how he wanted his funeral procession to go. Just another showing of just the strength that this American icon had all the way up until the end -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Sedona, Arizona.
HOWELL: Stephanie, thank you.
Over the past year, John McCain has been planning for his passing, for his final days and has often discussed with family and friends exactly what he wanted for his funeral. The plans have not officially been announced yet.
VANIER: However, sources do tell CNN that he favored three locations for his service: his home state of Arizona, the National Cathedral in Washington and Annapolis, Maryland, home of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been asked to give eulogies.
HOWELL: We understand that McCain will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Maryland. We should note that McCain told several friends that he did not want President Trump to attend his funeral.
VANIER: CNN's Gloria Borger was granted an in-depth interview with John McCain about almost becoming president twice. Take a listen.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Does the ambition ever go away?
MCCAIN: I've had that ambition, but I also had a lot of people who came to me and said, we thank you ought to run and we'd like to help you. And that, of course, kind of reinforces the whole -- the whole situation.
After I lost in 2000 and we conceded immediately, Cindy and I went to Tahiti. Yes, Tahiti is probably one of the most ideal places on earth.
I was almost crazy because you just can't go full stop. Yes, I was -- at the hotel, we are staying at, they would come out with a little one-page sheet of paper about the latest news of the day. I found myself hanging around the desk waiting for it to come in. I'm not kidding. It was --
BORGER: It's like detox.
MCCAIN: Yes, it was -- it was just -- you know, for cold turkey. So, in 2008 when I lost, I went right back to work. And that's was the beauty to me of having the ability to continue to be involved. I went right back to work and I stayed in the game and I stayed run for -- planned for running for reelection.
And then, I was able to cope with it much more easily than if I had had nothing else to do.
VANIER: World leaders are paying tribute to Senator McCain.
HOWELL: On Twitter, this from the president of Afghanistan, quote, "We offer our condolences to the family and friends of Senator John McCain, who was a great friend to Afghanistan. Senator McCain served his country honorably in uniform and his service in the Senate is truly exemplary. We will remember his dedication and support toward rebuilding Afghanistan."
The Israeli president Rubin Rivlin, included a picture in his tweet, honoring McCain. He wrote this,, quote, "In saying goodbye to Senator John McCain, we bid farewell to a great leader, a defender of his people, a man of strong values and a true supporter of Israel. My heartfelt condolences to his family and to all the American people."
VANIER: The secretary-general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, also praising McCain. He tweeted, "John McCain, soldier and senator, American and Atlanticist. He will be remembered both in Europe and North America for his courage and character and as a strong supporter of NATO. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones."
HOWELL: The death of Senator John McCain, passed away at 81 years old. We will be back after the break with more of our continuing coverage --
HOWELL: -- stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: Inaction is not an option. The American people are watching. History will be our judge. And it will judge us harshly if we don't put our country first in this crisis.
It's in moments of crisis that Americans have shown the world what we are made of. I'm confident that we will do so again. We will solve this crisis and our economy will emerge stronger than ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Many people remember the financial crisis during that time, 2008. And John McCain speaking in bold voice, saying we will get through it, essentially. This U.S. senator from the state of Arizona, many people remembering his life and legacy.
Flags are flying at half-staff in remembrance of John McCain. The long-time senator passed away on Saturday at his home in Arizona. He was 81 years old.
VANIER: The last year of his life was spent fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer. Many people first heard John McCain's name in the 1970s, when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. His sense of honor and duty made him refuse an early release before his fellow prisoners.
HOWELL: And it was also honor and duty that sent him to Washington, D.C. That's where he spent six terms in the U.S. Senate and --
HOWELL: -- there he earned a reputation of being a maverick, fiercely fighting for what he believed in, often reaching across party lines to get business done. More on the legacy of John McCain, of course, in a moment.
But we want to tell you about other news that we are following. Another major story with Pope Francis, speaking out on the sexual abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church and apologizing. VANIER: In Ireland on Saturday, the pope prayed before a candle, lit for the victims of sexual abuse. He also met with eight abuse victims for around 90 minutes. One person described it as a powerful meeting and another said that the pope was genuinely shocked by what he heard.
He called the crimes and the cover-up "filth."
Later the pope called the abuse "appalling crimes" and said the outrage of the abuse is justified.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): The failure of the (INAUDIBLE) authorities (INAUDIBLE) the priests (INAUDIBLE) to adequately address these appalling crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: John Allen is CNN's senior Vatican analyst, editor of "Crux," the independent website covering Catholicism. He joins us now from Dublin. And he has been covering the papal visit for us.
Listen, John, the Irish prime minister, the taoiseach, has been calling for action. He has asked the church for action. He specifically asked the pope for action.
Is what the pope is saying enough?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: Well, look, to judge from the reaction, and not just in the Irish press, I would say also on the Irish street, I think the answer to the question is what the pope has said enough, the answer is no.
I think many Irish men and women are very grateful to see Pope Francis engaging on the issue. But the mantra on the street here has been deeds, not words. What they are interested in seeing is tough new action from the pope, particularly on the issue of accountability, not simply for the crime of the abuse but also the coverup.
We should add that the pope's ability to engage this issue is being further clouded this morning by news that broke late last night, that a former papal ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, is suggesting that Pope Francis actually knew about abuse and misconduct allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick in the United States as early as 2013 and failed to take any action.
Vigano, who was the papal ambassador to the States from 2011-2016, is calling on Pope Francis to resign over that step. We at CNN are, of course, trying to obtain comment from the Vatican. We will report that when we have it.
But as the story develops, I think that also clearly will cast a shadow over Pope Francis' efforts to get a handle on the issue. VANIER: As a journalist and the general public, we have a temptation, a tendency to expect the Vatican to reply to everything quickly and respond to the abuse allegations and the abuse scandals quickly and address them.
But I was told a long time ago by a Vatican watcher, if you really want to understand the papal visits and the popes and the Vatican, all of them, you have to understand that the church thinks in centuries, over a very long period of time and you have to take a huge step back.
So if we change the scale that we are looking at, how does that inform this papal visit?
ALLEN: Well, look, I mean, in all fairness, the Catholic Church, over the last decade -- and, you know, you are quite right when we are talking about an institution with more than 2,000 years of history, 10 years is the blink of an eye.
Over that arc of time has really taken dramatic steps to try to move forward on the clerical sexual abuse scandals. They have adopted and developed, implemented aggressive policies for the prevention, the detection and the reporting of abuse. They have adopted stringent norms so that if a cleric sexually abuses a minor, that person is going to be out of ministry and reported to civil authorities.
So that is enormous progress. It's just that we are in the 21st century. The argument that the Vatican thinks in centuries doesn't really play in many quarters in this world anymore, particularly when you were talking about the protection of children. You know, I think people around the world,, beginning with the abuse survivors --
ALLEN: -- have a legitimate expectation that the Vatican is going to engage in a bit of rapid response, when it comes to what I think many of us would agree and Pope Francis termed yesterday, the repugnant crime of sexual abuse of a minor.
Until Pope Francis provides, I think, an answer, particularly to the accountability issue, he is going to struggle to convince many sectors of the world that the Catholic Church has turned a page on this issue, guys.
VANIER: John Allen reporting from Dublin. Thank you very much. We will speak to you again, thanks.
HOWELL: In the U.S. and around the world, you are watching NEWSROOM live, we will be right back after the break.
HOWELL: The skies over the U.S. state of Arizona, known for its sunsets so stunning they are called the painted skies. And here the scene in Sedona, Arizona, where Senator John McCain died Saturday, touching and certainly poignant.
VANIER: McCain was known as a fighter with an unshakeable patriotic spirit. During his 23 years in the U.S. Navy, he fought in the --
VANIER: -- Vietnam War and when he was taken prisoner, he fought for his life.
HOWELL: Over six terms in the U.S. Senate, he earned the nickname the Maverick, battling for the people of Arizona. McCain also to win the U.S. presidency, first in 2000 and then eight years later. It was a goal that he failed to achieve.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Last year, John McCain learned that he had one last fight. Doctors told him he had an aggressive form of brain cancer. And he died Saturday surrounded his family.
HOWELL: To talk more now about John McCain's life and the legacy he leaves behind is Dr. Allan Lichtman. Dr. Lichtman, a presidential historian and professor at American University.
Thank you so much for taking time this day, a sad day in the United States as many mourn the loss of Senator John McCain. Of this lawmaker, this American hero, what stands out most to you?
ALLAN LICHTMAN, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: What stands out most to me, at a time when principles seem to have gone by the wayside, John McCain was always a man of principle, whether you agreed with him or not. You knew he was not taking positions and making decisions just for self promotion and self protection.
He was a man willing to go against his own party; for example, on immigration reform, on campaign finance reform and, most recently, on the defense of the Affordable Care Act. These were things that he believed in and was willing to put patriotism above party. That's in so little evidence these days.
HOWELL: It has been about a year since Senator McCain was in Washington, D.C.
The question that many ask, what would he have thought about his party, the Republican Party, as it stands now?
LICHTMAN: Well, in the months before his untimely death, John McCain indicated his dismay with his Republican Party. He indicated that his Republican Party seemed to have abandoned the basic conservative principles -- and make no mistake, he was a conservative -- the basic conservative principles that he believed in.
Respect for the rule of law. Respect for institutions like the judiciary and the free press and the Department of Justice. Instead, I think he was seeing his beloved party, that he had served so long after being a war hero, becoming a cult of personality, becoming the party, not of conservative principle but the party of president Donald Trump, whose only concern was his own promotion and his own protection, no matter how much damage the president might do to the country. John McCain was always a man who put patriotism above party.
HOWELL: The U.S. president has tweeted on the death of Senator McCain, he said, "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!"
But we do understand that Senator McCain does not want the U.S. president, Donald Trump, at his funeral.
LICHTMAN: He doesn't because he believes Donald Trump is tearing down his beloved country and destroying his long cherished conservative principles. Anyone could have written that tweet. It did not come from the heart, didn't say anything remarkable.
What I would hearken back to is when the president signed the John McCain defense bill, he thanked all kinds of people.
But guess whose name he never mentioned?
That of John McCain. We have such a petty man in the White House and we have, in his passing, John McCain just standing over him like a giant.
HOWELL: The life and legacy of Senator McCain certainly stands tall. But keeping in mind and putting into context, this is a man who comes from a family, a deep military rooted family.
LICHTMAN: Absolutely. He comes from a deep-rooted military family. He served the military. He was a war hero; even though he was captured, he was extraordinarily brave and stalwart in captivity.
And he was always a very strong supporter of the American military; in my view, sometimes too much a supporter of military as opposed to diplomatic solutions to problems.
But he never abandoned his commitment to the military and to the ordinary soldiers who sacrificed so much to protect our country.
His slogan, the Maverick, another slogan, country first, but again, we did see a senator --
HOWELL: -- who, in many ways, embodied the spirit of bipartisanship in Washington. LICHTMAN: Absolutely. You know, he ran for president in 2000 as a maverick against the grain of his Republican Party, against the kind of Christian conservatism that had been taking over the Republican Party.
He broke with his party on campaign finance reform, on immigration and more recently on health care. He was such a maverick. Even though I'm not a Republican, if John McCain had been nominated by the Republican Party in 2000, I would have considered voting for him.
HOWELL: Dr. Allan Lichtman, we appreciate your time and perspective, putting Senator John McCain into context and understanding the history and legacy that he leaves behind. Thank you for your time.
LICHTMAN: My great pleasure.
HOWELL: And you know, I think there's a reaction, certainly from the U.S. state of Arizona, people who knew him, for standing up for the issues that matter to people there.
There's the remembrance of him in the United States, a man who ran for president twice and, internationally, a remembrance of a person who is very clear, you know, about what the U.S.' role was, is with the rest of the world.
VANIER: Yes, I think that really sets him apart because there are not many non-presidents who are known across the world. But John McCain is.
HOWELL: Thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell.
VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Stay with CNN.