Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday, Dec. 10, that Russian interference in American elections is “unacceptable.”
He warned Russia and other nations that the Trump administration would not tolerate election interference.
“I was clear it is unacceptable, and I made our expectations of Russia clear,” said Pompeo. He added, “The Trump administration will always work to protect the integrity of our elections. Period.”
Pompeo and the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov were having extensive talks that involved issues about arms control agreements, in Ukraine, Syria, and Venezuela.
Speaking at a joint news conference at the State Department, Pompeo stated that the Trump administration would oppose interference in elections past and future.
Lavrov repeated Russian rejections of interference in the 2016 presidential election, reiterating that the U.S. intelligence agency’s inference that Russia intervened in the election in favor of President Trump was “baseless.”
“We have highlighted once again that all speculation about our alleged interference in domestic processes in the U.S. are baseless,” said Lavrov.
“There are no facts that would support that. … No one has given us this proof because it simply does not exist,” stated Lavrov, reiterating demands that evidence of any collusion be sent to Moscow.
“We don’t think there is any mistake about what transpired,” said Pompeo, pertaining to the conclusion that Russia had meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.
The Ukraine-related impeachment articles and the Department of Justice’s finding dampened Lavrov’s Washington trip, his first since May 2017. The two issues threatened to jeopardize Washington-Moscow diplomacy.
Pompeo and Lavrov were scheduled to meet up with President Trump at the White House, after the joint news conference. Prior to the meeting, President Trump was advised by U.S. lawmakers to warn Lavrov against a repeat of the 2016 interference.
“We didn’t pick this date to coincide with the process on Capitol Hill, but we can’t allow the zaniness that’s taking place on Capitol Hill to impact our job,” said Pompeo, who stated that President Trump had requested him to work on the U.S.-Russia business relationship.