McCain says a free press is essential to a healthy democracy

(Public Domain)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. John McCain says a free press is vital "to preserve democracy as we know it." And he cautions about efforts to muzzle a free press, saying "that's how dictators get started."

The Arizona senator was asked in an interview for NBC's "Meet the Press" how he felt about President Donald Trump's tweet criticizing "the fake news media" that said "it is the enemy of the American people."

McCain tells "Meet the Press," ''The fact is we need you."

He adds: "When you look at history, the first thing dictators do is shut down the press."

McCain says he isn't saying Trump is trying to be a dictator but "we need to learn the lessons of history."