Pompeo says US will take ‘tough action’ on Russian meddling

Washington: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed Friday the United States would keep taking “tough action” on Russia after Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed widespread attempts by Moscow to help elect President Donald Trump.

A day after Mueller’s 400-page report was released publicly, Pompeo said that the Trump administration had raised interference in the 2016 election during each meeting with Russia.

“We will make very clear to them that this is unacceptable behavior,” Pompeo told a news conference after talks with the Japanese foreign and defense ministers.

“We will take tough actions which raise the cost for Russian malign activities. And we will continue to do that,” he said.

Pompeo said that the United States would also keep pressing to stop Russia from intervening in other elections around the world.

Trump has spoken of a fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has openly said he favored the populist mogul to his Democratic rival in the 2016 election, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The Mueller report supported Trump’s repeated assertions that he never colluded with Russian intelligence to sway the election, although it left open the question of whether he obstructed justice.