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03 February 2018, 01:40 | Camille Rivera
Sergei Naryshkin — the speaker of the Russian Duma — on a visit to Finland
The U.S. Senate's top Democrat Chuck Schumer wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on January 31 asking why U.S. intelligence officials met with Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia's foreign intelligence agency, known as the SVR. Did any White House or National Security Council meet with Naryshkin?
China hit back on Thursday at CIA Director Mike Pompeo calling Beijing a "bigger threat to the US than Russian Federation".
The Trump administration's announcement that it would not enforce new sanctions, for now, in retaliation for Russian meddling in the 2016 election is no deterrent for stopping attempts to influence further elections, Sen. "Director Pompeo's refusal to answer that question is deeply troubling". In an effort to avoid the appearance that he is politicizing the growing Russian Federation scandal, the minority leader has largely left discussion of Trump and Russian Federation to senators on the committees involved in investigating the issue.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo defended the meeting in a Thursday letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, declaring that he and other officials met with Russians for the same reason their predecessors did - "to keep Americans safe".
According to Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, and U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, the high-level meeting was about shared concerns over terrorism. Antonov said that Naryshkin's meetings addressed the "joint struggle against terrorism", though he did not offer further details.
The official said Pompeo did not meet with the head of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency behind efforts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.
Schumer wants to know why the visit was allowed, who approved it, which other Russian officials were in the delegation and whether they also are under sanction. "We sanctioned the head of their foreign intelligence, and then the Trump Administration invites him to waltz through our front door", Schumer said.
A Russian Embassy tweet disclosed Naryshkin's visit.
Indeed, there is a very long history of United States attempts to cooperate with Russian intelligence services, said Andrew Weiss, a vice president of studies at the Carnegie Endowment who oversees research into Russia and Eurasia.
The intelligence community has been actively trying to suppress and deter Russian Federation.
Pompeo said he is concerned by Russia's subversion tactics, just as European countries are.
"Anybody sitting inside United States government today not only has to make decisions about the practical aspects of dealing with Russian counterparts, but also the political fallout", Weiss said.
The CIA has acknowledged that the meeting with Russian officials took place, but did not reveal which Russian officials attended the meeting.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Russian Federation will target US mid-term elections later this year as part of the Kremlin's attempt to influence domestic politics across the West, and warned the world had to do more to push back against Chinese meddling. "We vigorously defend America in this enters and pull no punches - we never will". The plot, Pompeo wrote on Thursday, "could have killed Americans" in Russian Federation. -Russian relations. They include Russia's 2014 seizure of Crimea and its interference in Ukraine and Russia's military intervention on the government's side in the Syrian civil war.
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