Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service (AP)

During a meeting in Moscow today, National Security Advisor John Bolton told Russian officials that the Russian government’s meddling in the 2016 had “hardly any real effect, according to Reuters.

Per Reuters:

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.

This is a pretty weird thing for a National Security Advisor to say, in my opinion! Bolton adds the bit about it, like, not being acceptable, which, ok. Yes. It is bad for a country to compromise the integrity of another country’s elections cycle through targeted disinformation and cyber crimes (yes, the U.S. also does this. It’s still bad!)

This is the foreign policy equivalent of a dude getting absolutely clobbered in the face or something and being like “whatever man, that didn’t even hurt,” when very obviously it hurt a lot.

It’s also very strange for John Bolton, who has never met a war he didn’t like, to be letting a hostile foreign power off the hook for anything, but hey.

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Meanwhile, last week the U.S. filed the first charges against a Russian citizen accused of meddling in the 2018 midterms. Here’s hoping it has hardly any real effect!