National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Sunday that the U.S. government is not just worried about Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections, but efforts from China, Iran and North Korea as well.
With Russia’s actions in the 2016 election still a raging controversy, and amid fears that Moscow is still attempting to subvert the U.S. political process, Bolton issued a warning about America’s other geopolitical adversaries.
“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 try to prevent it,” Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Bolton refused to offer specific examples of current or prior Chinese interference. But he insisted that Russia was just one of a group being monitored by U.S. officials. “I’m telling you, looking at the 2018 election, those are the four countries we’re most concerned about.”
Bolton’s comments come just one day after President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that those investigating Russia’s role in U.S. politics should broaden their scrutiny to Beijing as well.
“All the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China,” the president tweeted. “But in the end, if we are smart, tough and well prepared, we will get along with everyone!”
Bolton also said he is confident that he and his Russian counterpart will discuss the Kremlin’s election prying during a meeting later this week in Geneva.
The forthcoming summit between the two advisors follows Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting in Helsinki in July.
Washington and Beijing are actively involved in a tit-for-tat trade war, while the U.S. and Iran are engaged in a war of words over Iran’s regional ambitions and its weapons arsenal. Meanwhile, Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un are planning a second summit, with their high-profile meeting in Singapore having yielded little in the way of concrete results.
The White House proposed last month to target $200 billion in Chinese goods, just days after Beijing retaliated against the administration’s imposition of 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in goods.
Though U.S. equities have swooned this year amid turbulent economic relations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 100 points on Friday after a report said Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping hope to discuss trade during a meeting in November.
The U.S. president faced widespread criticism in July, when he appeared to accept Putin’s denials, even as American intelligence has ruled the opposite.
Trump blamed “both countries” for the tense relationship, and raised the issue of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email server.
“I think it’s a disgrace we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 e-mails. I have great confidence in my intelligence community, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said in July.
“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered in the 2016 election, he added.