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Pompeo: New Russia sanctions show U.S. won't tolerate election meddling

Mike Pompeo
Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the U.S. would impose more sanctions targeting Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian businessman known as "Putin's chef," for election interference activities carried out by his troll farm.

The big picture: Prigozhin and his social media manipulation operation, the Internet Research Agency, were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February 2018 for election meddling. The additional sanctions come in the wake of a whistleblower's allegations that President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit 2020 election interference from Ukraine, which are now at the heart of a formal impeachment inquiry.

The backdrop:

  • Last Friday, the Washington Post reported that Trump told the Russian ambassador and the Russian foreign minister in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was "unconcerned about Moscow's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries."
  • However, Pompeo said in announcing the sanctions: "We have been clear: We will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections." He added: "We will not hesitate to impose further costs on Russia for its destabilizing and unacceptable activities."

Go deeper: FEC chair claims GOP commissioner blocked memo about foreign election interference