Bolton Discussed Election Meddling Concerns With Russian Envoy

(Bloomberg) -- John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, met with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. at the White House on Thursday and raised concerns about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the White House said.

In their first meeting in their current roles, Bolton told Ambassador Anatoly Antonov that the U.S. wants to have “better relations” with Russia, according to a White House statement released on Thursday evening.

Bolton, the White House said, told Antonov that better relations would “require addressing our concerns regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the reckless use of a chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, and the situations in Ukraine and Syria.”

Relations between the U.S. and Russia have deteriorated sharply this spring. Earlier this month, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on several Russian tycoons and companies close to President Vladimir Putin under provisions of a law passed last year to retaliate against Moscow for interring in the election.

Sanctions and Expulsions

“The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said then. He cited Moscow’s occupation of Crimea and its role in supplying weapons and other aid to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Days before the sanctions were announced, the U.S., along with other Western countries, also expelled scores of Russian diplomats in response to accusations that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K.

And last Friday -- together with the Britain and France -- the U.S. launched missile strikes on Syrian targets after the Assad government was accused of attacking a rebel-held town with chemical weapons.

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