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 PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid Hillicon Valley: Elon Musk sued by diver from Thai cave rescue | Researchers find new malware family | FEMA delays new presidential alert test Trump administration to cut refugee admissions to 30K for 2019 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) HaleyOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid Nikki Haley accuses Russia of undermining international sanctions against North Korea NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story 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 TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE. He denied that Russian interference had an impact on the result.