Pompeo Warns Russia about Meddling in Next U.S. Elections

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russia on Tuesday that Washington would brook no interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and wanted Moscow to take unspecified action to show there would be no repeat of its alleged 2016 meddling, Reuters reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met Pompeo in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, pushed back, telling him that Russia had never interfered in U.S. elections and that a report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which he praised as being “objective overall”, had found no evidence of collusion.

Now that the Mueller report was out of the way, something which had long cast a pall over U.S.-Russia relations, Putin said he hoped ties would start improving.

“I’ve formed the impression that your president wants to repair Russia-U.S. ties and contacts and wants to solve issues which are of common interest for us,” Putin told Pompeo. “We’ve said many times that we also want to fully restore our relations. I hope that the necessary conditions for that to happen will now be created.”

Visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state, Pompeo had earlier clashed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on issues from Ukraine to Venezuela. After their meeting, both men said they had been far apart on many issues.

“I made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov… that interference in American elections is unacceptable. If the Russians were engaged in that in 2020 it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been,” said Pompeo. “I’d encourage them not to do that. We would not tolerate that.”

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