Trump renominates former aide entangled in Russia probe to ambassadorship

Nomination had been put on hold until she could answer questions about Michael Flynn's contact with Russia.

K.T. McFarland, right, with former national security adviser Michael Flynn. CREDIT: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
K.T. McFarland, right, with former national security adviser Michael Flynn. CREDIT: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The White House decided to renominate former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland for U.S. ambassador to Singapore — despite continued scrutiny by congressional investigators in her role in possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

McFarland, a former pundit for Fox News, had her nomination frozen after questions were raised in December about whether she properly disclosed her communications with Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI.

McFarland said that she wasn’t aware that Flynn had contacted the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but an email exchange obtained by the New York Times showed that McFarland was aware of a crucial phone call in December 2016 between Kislyak and Flynn, where they talked about the sanctions recently imposed on Russia by the Obama administration for meddling in the election.

McFarland also wrote that Trump wanted to improved relations with Russia since it “has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him.”

“Her nomination is frozen for a while until she gets that worked out,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) told CNN at the time. “She has to know that herself, and we’ll deal with it at the appropriate time.”

On Monday, however, the Trump administration renominated dozens of names for administration positions after the nominations expired at the end of 2017. McFarland’s name was on the list — despite Democrats previously warning they would not support her nomination. If her nomination does move forward, it likely means that she’ll have to re-answer a series of questions about what she discussed with Sergey Kislyak and Michael Flynn.

It’s not the first time the Russia investigation has thwarted one of Trump’s administrative nominees. In November, the Trump’s nominee for chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, had to withdraw after it was revealed that he was aware of efforts by George Papadopoulos to create a line of communication between Russia and the Trump campaign.