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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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo knocks Turkey in NATO speech: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates US to temporarily withdraw some embassy personnel in Baghdad: report 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) CusackThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Election Day has arrived Law enforcement braces for unrest after Election Day The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association -Trump enters debate week after NYT obtains his tax returns 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) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting 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 John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE

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

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump 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 BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s campaign. Both campaigns told The Hill that they were aware of the threats.