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With Choice of Pallbearer, McCain Thumbs Nose at Trump, Putin

McCain personally asked Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2018 6:11 AM CDT
The desk of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is draped in black on the floor of the US Senate on Monday.   (Senate Television via AP)
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(Newser) – John McCain's talent for forging connections across the aisle and across the world will be on full display Saturday. Per the Hill, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, actor Warren Beatty, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, and FedEx president Fred Smith will be among those to carry McCain's coffin at a Saturday memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral, in addition to Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza. McCain made the request of the vice chairman of the Open Russia movement last April in what Politico describes as "one final burn planned for two of his biggest foes," Vladimir Putin and President Trump. "I was speechless," Kara-Murza says. "I said yes, of course, and that it would be the most heartbreaking honor that anyone could think of."

In addition to being "perhaps the biggest full-time thorn in Putin's side," per Politico, the 36-year-old Kara-Murza was a longtime friend and "personal hero" of McCain, who worked with him to punish Russia for human rights abuses, including passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act. He "saw through Vladimir Putin better than anyone," Kara-Murza writes at the Washington Post, adding "it will always be among the greatest blessings of my life to know him." The memorial will also feature tributes from former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Vice President Mike Pence will also join Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan in speaking at a ceremony at the Capitol, where McCain's body will lie in state on Friday. (Read more John McCain stories.)

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