Don’t meddle in next US presidential vote: Pompeo tells Russia
MOSCOW: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russia that Washington would brook no interference in the 2020 US presidential election and wanted Moscow to take unspecified action to show there would be no repeat of its alleged 2016 meddling.
President Vladimir Putin, who met Pompeo in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, pushed back, telling him that Russia had never interfered in US elections and that a report by US 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 US-Russia relations, Putin said he hoped ties would start improving.
“I’ve formed the impression that your president wants to repair Russia-US 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.