The Trump administration is making sure Russia and other countries know what costs they will bear if they try to meddle in the United States’ elections, National Security Advisor John Bolton said Tuesday.
“I can’t get into the specifics but let me say we’re considering a variety of steps to take,” Bolton told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “Obviously what would like to see in place are sufficient structures or deterrents that foreign adversaries don’t even think about meddling in our elections.”
Given that the administration “inherited” the situation it’s in, given what happened in 2016, work is continuing to determine what that action will involve, said Bolton.
“In general terms, what that involves is making sure that Russia and others know the cost they will bear if they try to meddle in our elections would be significantly greater than whatever cost they impose on us,” said Bolton. “We don’t want deterrents in cyberspace. We want our elections left alone.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said on several occasions that his regime is not involved in election meddling, but the Department of Justice indicted a dozen GRU Russian intelligence officers on charges that they were involved in hacking servers used by the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 race.
“I don’t think there is any question that the Russian state is involved,” said Bolton, noting that the heads of four of the key agencies involved preventing further election meddling told the American people about the issues last month.
“The president knew what they were going to say,” he said. “He had been briefed on it a few days before at the National Security Council meeting. He didn’t just authorize it, he encouraged it.”
Bolton also discussed the latest news concerning North Korea, which wants the United States to drop its sanctions on claims that President Donald Trump is acting in ways opposite of what was pledged in Singapore.
“The performance we need is from North Korea,” he said. “The United States lived up to the Singapore declaration. North Korea has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearization. The idea we’re going to relax sanctions on North Korea’s say-so is something that just isn’t under consideration. We’ll continue to apply maximum pressure to North Korea until they denuclearization just as we are to Iran…we think the maximum pressure campaign president trump put in place is what brought Kim Jong Un to the table in the first place. We’ll not relent until we see progress on denuclearization.”
He said he also thinks that if North Korea is serious about turning the page, it will return all the soldiers’ remains it is holding from the Korean War, not just some.
“There is no point in withholding remains from a conflict that long ago,” said Bolton. “If they really want peace on the peninsula as they say, they don’t need any negotiations with us to do it. They can do it on their own.”
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