Pompeo Warns Russian Foreign Minister Not to Interfere in U.S. Elections

Pompeo Warns Russian Foreign Minister Not to Interfere in U.S. Elections


Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Lavrov also discussed crisis points around the globe, including Syria, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, as well as the jailing in Moscow of Paul N. Whelan, a former United States Marine, on espionage charges.

Mr. Pompeo said the two sides spoke about sanctions enforcement on North Korea, which recently has threatened to resume testing of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. Mr. Lavrov said he hoped that Washington and Pyongyang would restart diplomacy. He added that dialogue must be based on “reciprocal steps,” saying, “You cannot demand that North Korea do everything.”

Mr. Lavrov’s visit to Washington comes at a delicate moment in the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia. On Tuesday, Democratic leaders in Congress announced two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump, in a case that centers on Mr. Trump withholding military aid from Ukraine while demanding political favors. Ukraine depends on the assistance in its fight against a Russia-backed insurgency in the east.

Since the start of his presidency in early 2017, Mr. Trump has been dogged by accusations that his public affection for Mr. Putin and efforts to create warmer ties between the two nations undermine the national security interests of the United States. American intelligence agencies agree that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, a conclusion backed up by the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Justice Department, even though he did not find a conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The Justice Department inspector general released a report on Monday saying the F.B.I. had sufficient reason to open an investigation in 2016 into links between Russia and Trump campaign aides — a precursor to the Mueller investigation.

In the long, labyrinthine narrative of Mr. Trump and Russia, Mr. Lavrov’s last visit to the White House, in May 2017, was a signature moment and was scrutinized in the Mueller investigation. That visit occurred on May 10, the day after Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, who as director of the F.B.I. was overseeing that agency’s inquiry into Russia and the Trump campaign. After firing Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump told Mr. Lavrov and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States at the time: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

In that same meeting, Mr. Trump revealed classified information that undermined an Israeli counterterrorism operation in the Middle East and angered Israeli officials.



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