US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday warned that Russia would seek to interfere in elections for decades ahead and vowed that Washington would try to thwart its efforts.
Pompeo was asked if he expected Russia to meddle in next year’s US election, after a long-awaited report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that Moscow tried to sway the 2016 presidential race to Donald Trump.
The top US diplomat said to expect a similar Russian campaign next year but criticized the spotlight inside Washington on the Russian role, which has infuriated President Donald Trump.
“It goes without saying, they were a threat to our elections in 1974, too, and they interfered in our elections in the ’80s,” Pompeo told a forum of The Hill newspaper.
“The fact that this town seems shocked by the fact that the Russians don’t care for us — in that case the Soviet Union — I find stunning,” he said.
“And we should expect in 2050, the Russians will be at it still.”
Pompeo, however, said that Trump “has directed us all to be incredibly focused” on countering meddling by Russia as well as other adversaries.
The Mueller investigation, which had cast a shadow over Trump since he took office, documented widespread Russian attempts to influence the election but did not find that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
Trump has since voiced anger on the rival Democratic Party for challenging him on Russia, insisting that he won on his own merits.
Russia denies election interference and accuses the United States of wrongful meddling of its own in the domestic affairs of countries such as Venezuela.