Trump warns Russian FM against election interference
WASHINGTON/MOSCOW - Anadolu Agency
During his closed-door meeting with Sergey Lavrov at the Oval Office, Trump also urged Moscow to resolve the conflict with Ukraine, referring to the unrest in the country's east, the White House said in a statement.
Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula after a controversial referendum.
Trump also posted a photo of himself with Lavrov on Twitter, saying he had "a very good meeting" with the top Russian diplomat and the country's representatives.
"Discussed many items including Trade, Iran, North Korea, INF Treaty, Nuclear Arms Control, and Election Meddling. Look forward to continuing our dialogue in the near future!" he tweeted.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Lavrov briefed Trump "on their discussions regarding the state of the bilateral relationship" between the two countries, said the statement.
Earlier in the day, Pompeo also warned Lavrov against further interference in next year's presidential election, saying he made clear during their bilateral meeting Washington's "expectations of Russia."
"Should Russia or any foreign actor take steps to undermine our democratic processes, we will take action in response," Pompeo said.
U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia was behind a sweeping disinformation campaign to influence the 2016 elections in favor of Trump, but Moscow staunchly denied the allegations even as the Trump administration imposed sanctions and indicted Russian companies and individuals in retaliation.
During the meeting, Trump also emphasized his support for effective global arms control that includes both Russia and China.
"President Trump welcomed continued engagement with Russia to address areas of mutual concern, including how the United States and Russia can take positive steps with respect to detained citizens," said the statement.
Trump also urged Moscow to back Washington to "prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ensure the denuclearization of North Korea."
The two men also reviewed the state of relations with Beijing.
"The President reiterated the need for fair and reciprocal trade with China. The President noted that a better relationship with Russia would allow increased trade between our countries," the statement concluded.
Russian FM says Moscow open to release of election docs
Meanwhile, Russia is open to the release of key communications it says would exonerate it of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier on Dec. 9.
Speaking during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Lavrov said the Trump administration has declined to agree to the release of the documents that are part of a diplomatic channel the countries used from October 2016 until November 2017.
"We used the channels that existed back then between Moscow and Washington,” Lavrov said in remarks translated from Russian, adding that their publication "would clear many matters up," including what he called the "wave of suspicions that has overcome Washington” and hindered bilateral cooperation.
U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia was behind a sweeping disinformation campaign to influence the 2016 elections in favor of U.S. President Donald Trump, but Moscow has staunchly denied the allegations as the Trump administration has imposed sanctions and indicted Russian companies and individuals in retaliation.
Pompeo continued to back the assessment of culpability saying "we don't think there's any mistake about what really transpired there," and rejected the need for the publication of the communications.
"We'll publish all the documents we think appropriate. We think we've shared plenty of facts to show what happened in the 2016 election with our Russian counterparts," he said.
Pompeo continued to warn Russia against further interference in next year's presidential election, saying he made clear during their bilateral meeting Washington's "expectations of Russia."
"Should Russia or any foreign actor take steps to undermine our democratic processes we will take action in response," he said.
The top diplomats also addressed a range of issues, including a gamut of foreign policy issues they are on opposite sides of, and a nuclear nonproliferation treaty set to expire in 2020.
The U.S. wants China to be included as part of an extension of the New START Treaty, while Russia wants it extended as is.
Beijing has stated its lack of interest in joining the arms control pact.