While the threat of election interference by Russia is well-known, President Donald Trump has said on multiple occasions that other foreign powers also are attempting to meddle in America’s political affairs.
“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 in an interview on ABC that aired Aug. 19.
“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,” Bolton added.
Bolton’s comments came in response to a query regarding Trump’s message on Twitter on Aug. 18 suggesting that the real threat to the United States is China, not Russia.
“All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China,” Trump wrote. “But in the end, if we are smart, tough and well prepared, we will get along with everyone!”
All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China. But in the end, if we are smart, tough and well prepared, we will get along with everyone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea were also the four nations named by Vice President Mike Pence earlier this month as the top potential threats to America’s military assets in space.
Bolton said that he spoke to the Russian president about election meddling ahead of the summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki in June.
“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,” he said. “President Trump raised it with President Putin.”
The heads of the nation’s intelligence agencies provided a briefing on Aug. 2 about a comprehensive effort to protect American elections.
“There are a lot of things we’re doing that we can’t talk about specifically,” Bolton said. “And that includes both defensive and offensive cyber operations to protect the integrity of the election process.”