WASHINGTON — Russian Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow wanted to publish a cache of communications with Washington that he said cleared Russia of allegations it interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, but that the United States has blocked their release.
“We suggested to our colleagues that in order to dispel all suspicions that are baseless: let us publish this close channel of correspondence starting from October 2016 until November 2017 so it would all become very clear to many people,” Lavrov said through an interpreter at a news conference following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.
“However, regrettably, this administration refused to do so,” added Lavrov, who is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House. “We are prepared to do that, to publish the correspondence that took place.”
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian state meddled in the election campaign and a number of Russian citizens and entities were charged by former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Russia has long denied interfering in the run-up to the November 2016 election in which Republican Trump was the surprise winner against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Pompeo said he told Lavrov in their meeting that the United States would take action if Russia or any other foreign actor sought to meddle in U.S. elections.
“I was clear: it’s unacceptable. And I made our expectations of Russia clear,” Pompeo told reporters at the news conference. “The Trump administration will always work to protect the integrity of our elections, period.” (Reporting by Humyera Pamuk and Makini Brice; Writing by Susan Heavey; editing by Grant McCool)