Meetings with Russians all above board, Pompeo tells senators

Sen. Chris Murphy: Trump Decision on Russia Sanctions Means No Deterrents

The Trump Administration Let a Russian Spy Chief Visit the US— Even Though He Was Legally Barred

In the midst of broader concerns about the Trump administration's willingness to adopt a harsh stance toward Russia and Vladimir Putin-and its decision not to enforce sanctions on key Russian officials despite an overwhelming congressional vote in favor-Schumer and other Democrats are concerned about the substance of any meetings that took place between senior USA intelligence officials and their Russian counterparts. Did any White House or National Security Council officials meet with Naryshkin?

USA intelligence agencies have accused the FSB - considered Russia's main domestic intelligence agency - and the GRU - the Russian military's intelligence arm - of being behind the hacking of US political parties and activists.

"You and the American people should rest assured that we cover very hard subjects in which American and Russian interests do not align", Pompeo said. "Director Pompeo's refusal to answer that question is deeply troubling". The administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are at odds over the release of a congressional memo about surveillance related to possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo hit back at critics skeptical of recent meetings between United States and Russian intelligence officials by saying such cooperation is critical to national security and puts less American lives at risk.

The meeting comes amid heightened concerns about Russia's aggression overseas - something about which Trump's own national security strategy warned and Pompeo himself addressed on Monday. But he did insist that neither he nor any other U.S. officials went easy on the Russian spy chiefs in their meetings.

Situations like Naryshkin's visit are more unusual, Schanzer said.

Naryshkin is among the senior Russian defense and intelligence officials who had previously been sanctioned by the Obama administration in 2014 in retaliation for Russian's invasion of Ukraine.

"The Chinese [intelligence] have a much bigger footprint upon which to execute that mission than the Russians do", Pompeo said.

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Schumer had demanded to know why the officials were allowed into the country, despite existing sanctions. "Then the Trump administration invites him to waltz through our front door", Schumer told reporters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Sergei Naryshkin, left, and Aleksandr Bortnikov.

"We don't see this sort of thing being reported very often", he said.

Just this week, Pompeo warned in an interview with the BBC that Russian Federation was still a threat to American elections. "There are political slogans, but there is also some real work to do", Antonov added.

The CIA has acknowledged that the meeting with Russian officials took place, but did not reveal which Russian officials attended the meeting. "We vigorously defend America in these encounters and pull no punches - we never will".

"I can't recall any time in the last 15 years" that all three Russian agency chiefs were in the USA capital at the same time, Steven Hall, a former CIA station chief in Moscow, tells RFE/RL.

Nauert added that, "it is no secret that despite our many, many differences - and we just talked about them - with the Russian government, we also have areas where we have to work together, and one of those is combating terrorism and ISIS, and so I will leave it at that".

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