BY KYLE BALLUCK – 08/19/18 08:56 AM EDT
National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that U.S. officials are concerned about meddling in this fall’s midterm elections by China, Iran and North Korea, in addition to Russia.
“I can say definitively that it’s a sufficient national security concern about Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling and North Korean meddling that we’re taking steps to prevent it,” Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I’m not going to get into what I’ve seen or haven’t seen, but I’m telling you, looking at the 2018 election, those are the countries we’re most concerned about,” he added.
His comments follow a tweet on Saturday by President Trump, who said the “fools” who are focused on Russia should “start also looking” at China.
“All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China,” Trump said. “But in the end, if we are smart, tough and well prepared, we will get along with everyone!”
Bolton also said on Sunday that he’s sure that he will discuss the Kremlin’s election interference during a meeting later this week with his Russian counterpart.
“I had a discussion about it myself with President Putin when I went to Moscow originally to prepare the groundwork for his meeting with President Trump. President Trump raised it with President Putin,” he said.
“We’ll see what their response is. But it’s not simply a question of speaking with the Russians. At the president’s direction — we had a press conference in the White House briefing room a couple weeks ago now with myself and four of the heads of the operating agencies and departments that deal with this, the layout — at least as much as we could in a non-classified environment — what we were doing,” he added.
“And there are a lot of things we’re doing that we can’t talk about specifically. And that includes both defensive and offensive cyber operations to protect the integrity of the election process.”