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Pompeo says he is 'confident' other countries will meddle in 2020 elections

Pompeo says he is 'confident' other countries will meddle in 2020 elections

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoPompeo not ruling out 2024 White House bid Houthis: US sanctions prolonging war in Yemen China plays the Trump card, but Biden is not buying it MORE on Wednesday expressed confidence that other countries, including potentially Russia and China, would attempt to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections.

“Yes, I am confident that many countries will do their level best to have an impact on our election,” Pompeo said during a virtual event hosted by The Hill on the future of national security. “Foreign efforts to interfere in American elections is something we constantly must contend with, and we’ll contend with that here.”

Pompeo made the remarks in response to a question from The Hill’s editor-in-chief, Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackTrump legal switch hints at larger problems The Hill's Morning Report - President Biden, Vice President Harris begin work today Incoming lawmakers stress coronavirus relief, economy as first priority of new session MORE, on whether Russia was interfering in the election process this year, four years after Russian agents launched a sweeping interference campaign during the lead-up to the 2016 elections. 

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The secretary also pointed to the work that has been done by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security since 2016 “to make sure our adversaries understand the cost imposed” if they interfere in U.S. elections.

“The American people should rest assured that whether it’s Chinese interference, Iranian interference, Russian interference, or North Korean interference, any country, or even non-state actors who now have capabilities to try to meddle in our elections, know that this administration takes seriously its responsibility to make sure every American’s vote is counted, counted properly, and that foreign influence is minimized,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo’s remarks came two days after he spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on a variety of issues. According to the State Department, Pompeo “raised the issue” of election security, but the agency did not give further details on the specifics of what was discussed around this topic. 

Election security has been an area of concern since 2016, when, according to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE, Russian agents targeted election infrastructure in all 50 states and launched a wide-ranging disinformation campaign on social media meant to favor the campaign of now-President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE

Evidence of attempts of foreign adversaries to interfere in the 2020 elections has already come to light.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent Ron Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor GOP pulling out all the stops to delay COVID-19 package MORE (I-Vt.), a former Democratic presidential candidate, said in February that his aides had been briefed by U.S. intelligence community officials about Russian efforts to assist his campaign by spreading disinformation. Intelligence officials also told House lawmakers in February that Russia was again interfering to favor the Trump campaign, according to The New York Times. 

More recently, Google’s Threat Analysis Group found evidence that Iranian hackers were targeting Trump campaign staff with malicious phishing emails, and that Chinese hackers were targeting the emails of staffers working for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. Both campaigns told The Hill that they were aware of the threats.