Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the White House’s insistence that President Trump warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov against election meddling.
On Tuesday, Trump met with Lavrov at the White House and claimed that election meddling was brought up during the meeting, which was closed off to the press. According to the White House’s readout of the meeting, Trump “warned against any Russian attempts to interfere in United States elections” and “urged Russia to resolve the conflict with Ukraine.” Although Lavrov confirmed that election meddling was discussed, his account appeared to indicate that he brought up the issue himself.
According to a Politico report Wednesday, Pompeo began his defense of the White House’s claim by telling reporters that the discussion of Russian meddling “happened in every meeting I was in.”
“With respect to the discussion of Russian meddling, it happened in every meeting I was in,” Pompeo told reporters, according to Politico. “I think I was in three here at the State Department, and then over at the White House — I will leave to the White House to give the details of what is said.”
Pompeo added that despite how he doesn’t discuss “what the President says in those private settings,” he said he can confirm that Lavrov’s statement doesn’t accurately address what actually happened at the meeting.
“I never talk about what the President says in those private settings, but I can tell you that Foreign Minister Lavrov’s statement is not accurately a reflection of my recollection of that meeting,” Pompeo said, according to Politico.
Pompeo then argued that “there was no mistake that President Trump made clear in the meeting” that he “finds their meddling in our elections unacceptable.”
“And there was no mistake that President Trump made clear in the meeting that he had with Foreign Minister Lavrov and the rest of the Russian team that was there, that President Trump personally in America finds their meddling in our elections unacceptable, in the very same way that I had said it earlier to Foreign Minister Lavrov,” Pompeo said.
Watch a clip Pompeo’s remarks below:
Pompeo: "President Trump personally in America finds their meddling in our elections unacceptable" pic.twitter.com/SH1BDtLIjb
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 11, 2019