Secretary Pompeo to Russia: Interference in American Elections is Unacceptable

At a press conference in Sochi alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unequivocally declared, "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," Pompeo added. "We would not tolerate that."

Preceding Pompeo's answer, Lavrov criticized the United States for "interference in the domestic policy of the Russian Federation," citing the support of Ukrainian forces by Congress following the Russian annexation of Crimea.

At another point in the joint press conference, Lavrov denied that Russia engaged in election meddling in the 2016 American presidential election, saying there is "no proof of those who are trying to hype up this topic."

In late 2017, the Senate Intelligence Committee published a report, backing up claims from the U.S. intelligence community, which stated, "Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations."

Pompeo and Lavrov met on Tuesday as part of Pompeo's first diplomatic trip to Russia since becoming secretary of state. The two were expected to discuss emerging tensions in Venezuela and Iran, as well as a new strategic arms treaty between the two countries.