President Trump’s nominee for Singapore ambassador will likely not be confirmed this year, CNN reported Wednesday, after revelations born out by the Special Counsel’s Russia probe raised questions about her testimony to Congress, among other concerns lawmakers had raised about her nomination.
Court documents related to the guilty plea former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn entered in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation led to reports that the nominee, KT McFarland was aware of Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials during the transition — contra her testimony to Congress. McFarland served as deputy national security adviser under Flynn.
Though her nomination had previously cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September, it has not yet to been brought up for a floor vote. Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) told CNN it will be up to the White House whether to renominate for consideration next year.
“Nominees that have other productive lives they can lead probably have to assess themselves whether it makes a lot of sense to continue on because it does put your life on hold,” Corker told CNN. “Before any of these other things came out, there were significant Democratic objections to this nominee — the nominee is aware of that. This obviously makes it more difficult.”
McFarland was Flynn’s deputy until Flynn was was fired by Trump in February, ostensibly for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in December 2016.
McFarland continued to serve as deputy national security adviser until she stepped down in April, amid a broader shake up of Trump’s National Security Council. Her nomination for the ambassadorship was announced the following month.
Reporting prompted by Mueller documents filed Dec. 1 indicated that McFarland was aware of, and even helping Flynn to coordinate, phone calls to Kislyak in late December 2016 to discuss Russia sanctions.
Her involvement in Flynn’s Kislyak outreach appears to contradict her written testimony to the Senate that she was “not aware of” Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador.
According to CNN’s Senate sources, it seems very likely her nomination will be sent back to the White House, with the spokesperson for Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) telling CNN that the top Foreign Relations Democrat wants her nomination sent back the White House by the end of the year.
A Senate Dem aide told CNN that there was “No chance she gets confirmed by year’s end.”
If her nomination is permanently stalled, McFarland will be the second Trump nominee to see her confirmation scuttled by Mueller probe-related allegations. Sam Clovis withdrew his nomination to a top Agriculture Department post after he was revealed to be one of the figures referenced in Mueller documents connected to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’s guilty plea.