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Russia Rejects CIA Chief's Assertion It's Meddling In U.S. Congressional Elections


CIA Director Mike Pompeo

Russian officials on January 8 rejected an accusation by CIA Director Mike Pompeo that Russia is attempting to interfere in U.S. congressional elections this year and has been meddling in U.S. elections "for decades."

"I continue to be concerned, not only about the Russians, but about others' efforts as well," Pompeo told CBS on January 7, without giving details. "We have many foes who want to undermine Western democracy."

Pompeo said that the Central Intelligence Agency has an important role in ensuring U.S. elections are secure and democratic.

"We are working diligently to do that. So we're going to work against the Russians or any others who threaten that very outcome," he told CBS.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov responded to Pompeo on January 8 in an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax, saying that Russia is not trying to interfere in the November 2018 congressional elections.

The election will determine whether U.S. President Donald Trump's Republican Party will retain control over both houses of Congress.

"We have not meddled and will never meddle into the domestic affairs of other countries, " Ryabkov said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova asserted that Pompeo's statements were "lies."

In a Facebook post on January 8, Zakharova said the "best evidence" of her claim was that, in her words, U.S. intelligence agencies and officials made no allegations of Russian meddling before Trump was elected.

In January 2017, U.S. intelligence agencies said they had determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin "ordered an influence campaign" targeting the 2016 U.S. election, with goals including undermining faith in the U.S. democratic process and improving Trump's chances of victory by discrediting rival candidate Hillary Clinton.

The FBI and other U.S. intelligence services began investigating allegations of Russian meddling months before the election.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, and Interfax
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