Pompeo warns Russia against 'interfering in US domestic matters'

Pompeo warns Russia against 'interfering in US domestic matters'
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents MORE told his Russian counterpart on Wednesday that Moscow would need to cease its interference in "U.S. domestic matters" if it hopes to thaw tensions with Washington. 

In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — Pompeo's first since he was sworn in as the nation's top diplomat last month — the secretary of State said that the U.S. wants to improve relations with Moscow.

But he added that "achieving that will require Russia to demonstrate that it is prepared to take concrete actions to address our concerns, including interfering in U.S. domestic matters," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

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The phone call also touched on Russia's involvement in Syria and Ukraine. The U.S. has repeatedly condemned Moscow's intervention in eastern Ukraine, as well as its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. 

Pompeo's discussion with Lavrov came a day after Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job United Methodist churches may cut ties with denomination over push to allow LGBT ministers Nikki Haley: ‘I’m too young to stop fighting’ MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.), blasted Russia's "outrageous actions" in Ukraine, and called for Moscow to return control of Crimea to Kiev.

"Until Russia ends its outrageous actions in Ukraine, the position of the United States will not waver. We condemn, in the strongest terms, Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine and its purported annexation of Crimea," she said at a U.N. Security Council meeting.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, Pompeo affirmed the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia sought to sway the 2016 U.S. election in favor of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE. He denied that Russian interference had an impact on the result.