Exclusive: McCain backs Trump criticism of F-35, says president can't cancel it

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) talks with reporters before the weekly Republican caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said on Monday he backed President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of the costs of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program, but said a president does not have the authority to cancel it because funds have already been appropriated. In an interview with Reuters, McCain, a leading Republican voice on national security and outspoken critic of Pentagon cost overruns, said, however, that Trump would have the power to reduce future purchases of the new-generation fighters if he decides to do so. “He can reduce the buy over time, next year, as we look at it again,” McCain said. “But right now, the acquisition … of lots of them is already taking place, and I’m happy to say at fixed-price contract. The president, I’m sure, can examine it.” (Reporting By Matt Spetalnick and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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