In an interview on Sunday with ABC News, United States National Security Adviser John Bolton said that officials are concerned about election meddling from other countries beyond Russia.
“I can say definitively that it’s a sufficient national security concern about Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling and North Korean meddling that we’re taking steps to prevent it,” Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week.”
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While he wouldn’t comment definitively on what’s caused White House security officials to pinpoint these countries, Bolton confirmed those are the countries that government officials are “most concerned about.”
Bolton’s comments echo statements made by U.S. President Donald Trump Saturday morning on Twitter.
“All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China,” Trump said. “But in the end, if we are smart, tough and well prepared, we will get along with everyone!” the president’s tweet read.
The FBI concluded last year that Russian officials attempted to meddle in the U.S. 2016 presidential election, though the Trump administration has been vague in its response to the bureau’s report. Trump has often stated that former American president Barack Obama knew about the potential for Russian interference and did little to stop it.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently conducting an investigation into Russia’s influence on the vote and possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials.
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Bolton told ABC on Sunday that both he and President Trump have raised the issue of election interference with Russian officials and would likely do so with the Kremlin in Geneva next week, marking the first meeting between U.S. and Russian officials since Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki.
“I had a discussion about it myself with President Putin when I went to Moscow originally to prepare the groundwork for his meeting with President Trump. President Trump raised it with President Putin,” he said.
“We’ll see what their response is. But it’s not simply a question of speaking with the Russians. At the president’s direction — we had a press conference in the White House briefing room a couple weeks ago now with myself and four of the heads of the operating agencies and departments that deal with this, the layout — at least as much as we could in a non-classified environment — what we were doing,” he said.
Bolton also added that while he couldn’t discuss specifically which cybersecurity measures the government was taking, these actions include “both defensive and offensive cyber operations to protect the integrity of the election process.”
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Last week, Rand Paul, a Republican senator and Trump ally, travelled to the Russian capital on a trip he said was aimed at encouraging diplomacy amid the tense relations between Moscow and Washington.
—With files from Reuters