Russian official again denies US claims that Kremlin sponsored election meddling

Key Points
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Kremlin hasn't seen evidence that proves it meddled in the U.S. election.
  • He said, however, that Russia and the U.S. are interested in "close cooperation on fighting cyber crime."
Lavrov on Russian hacking allegations: Have not seen any facts, even hints at facts

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again pushed back on allegations that Russia interfered in the U.S. election during a Wednesday press conference with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"As for the allegations that the U.S. government has irrefutable proof that we interfered with the electoral campaign, I have to say, once again, that we have not seen any facts, even hints at facts," Lavrov said, adding that the Kremlin has not been shown any evidence despite many requests.

Russian officials have repeatedly tried to knock down allegations that the Kremlin meddled in the U.S. election.

In January, the U.S. intelligence community issued an unclassified report, alleging Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to undermine faith in the American electoral process and developed a "clear preference" for Donald Trump.

Tillerson drew a distinction between the use of technology to interfere with democratic processes and its use for disrupting weapons programs.

Russia's Lavrov: We are interested in close cooperation on cyber crime

"Clearly, this is an issue that has emerged in our time for which we have yet, as an international community, come to some conclusion on how we want to respond to that," Tillerson said.

The Russian foreign minister said both the U.S. and Russia are interested in "close cooperation on fighting cyber crime."

Lavrov's comments come as tensions between the United States and Russia have grown in the wake of the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base last week. Trump ordered the strike, accusing Syria of the chemical attack that killed dozens, including children.

Senior national security officials briefed reporters Tuesday on declassified intelligence regarding the chemical attack, saying the symptoms of the victims was consistent with exposure to the nerve agent sarin.

The officials rejected Russia's claim that terrorists or rebels carried out the attack. They said that they were confident that terrorists do not have access to sarin.

Tillerson doubled down on these conclusions by U.S. intelligence officials, saying "this is just the latest of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, and notwithstanding their use on more than 50 occasions of chlorine bombs and cluster bombs and other types of weapons that are intended to maim and kill in the most horrific ways."

Tillerson said he had a "productive," two-hour meeting with Putin at the Kremlin. He said, however, that relations between the two countries are strained and could be improved.

"I expressed the view that the current state of U.S.-Russia relations is at a low point and there is a low level of trust between our countries. The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship," Tillerson said.

Watch: Lavrov on attempts to 'sabotage' US-Russia cooperation

Russia's Lavrov: We see attempts to sabotage our cooperation