Bolton Tells Russian ‘Colleagues’ that Russian meddling in U.S. elections had negligible effect

MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Monday that Russian meddling in U.S. elections had achieved negligible results, but insisted such behavior should not be tolerated.

A federal special counsel is leading a criminal investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and any possible cooperation with Donald Trump’s campaign.

Moscow has denied the allegations while Trump has said there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Bolton played down the consequences of the alleged interference. “Today I told our Russian colleagues that their meddling in our election process had hardly had any real effect,” radio station Ekho Moskvy quoted him as saying on a visit to Moscow.

“But the important thing is the desire for interfering in our affairs itself arouses distrust in Russian people, in Russia. And I think it should not be tolerated, it should not be acceptable,” he said.

The U.S. government charged a Russian national on Friday with playing a financial role in a Kremlin-backed plan to conduct “information warfare” against the United States, including attempts to influence next month’s congressional elections.

(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov; Editing by Alison Williams and David Stamp)