Pompeo Warns Russia That U.S. Won’t Tolerate Election Interference
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that he has informed Russia the U.S. will not tolerate further election interference from Moscow.
Speaking at a press conference in Sochi, Pompeo said he’d told Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov that “interference in American elections is unacceptable and if the Russians were engaged in that in 2020 it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been.”
“We’ve said this not only about the Russians but about other countries as well,” Pompeo added. “Our elections are important and sacred and they must be kept free and fair and with no outside country interfering.”
In response, Lavrov reiterated the Kremlin’s claims that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election or any other campaign.
“Such insinuations are absolutely fake,” he said.
The meeting between Pompeo and his Russian counterpart comes shortly before President Trump plans to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of next month’s G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
Trump was criticized from both sides of the aisle when during their joint summit in Helsinki last July he appeared to accept Putin’s insistence that Russia had not tried to influence American elections, a claim that directly contradicted the findings of the U.S. intelligence community.