April 22, 2018

Trump transition official in email: Russian Federation 'has just thrown the United States of America election'

06 December 2017, 08:00 | Winston Chapman

It seems the couple needed some fresh air and light exercise following the hectic week

It seems the couple needed some fresh air and light exercise following the hectic week

The email, obtained by The New York Times, sheds new light on McFarland's role in coordinating the transition team's attempts to convince Russia not to retaliate against the United States after President Barack Obama announced new sanctions and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats past year.

McFarland left her deputy national security adviser post in April.

McFarland told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in written comments that she "was not aware" of any communications between Flynn and the Russian ambassador - an assertion that appears to be contradicted by court documents unsealed Friday after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But emails obtained by The New York Times show that McFarland was, in fact, aware of the December 29 phone call between Flynn and Kislyak, in which Flynn urged Kislyak not to retaliate against sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

"Her nomination is frozen for a while until that gets worked out", Republican Senator Bob Corker told reporters at the U.S. Capitol. Prosecutors said he is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

At the time, the White House said Flynn had acted independently in discussing Obama-era sanctions with the Russians as Team Trump was transitioning to the Oval Office.

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One of those questions, from New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, was this: "Did you ever discuss any of Gen. Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak directly with Gen. Flynn?"

The Times reported that it was unclear whether the transition official was saying she believed that the election had been thrown.

In her e-mail to another transition official hours before the first phone call, Ms McFarland described President Barack Obama's decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats as a last-minute attempt to discredit Mr Trump's victory, box him in diplomatically and provoke him into a potentially politically damaging statement in Russia's defence.

Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN he thinks McFarland's nomination is imperiled.

During their follow-up call, Mr Kislyak informed Flynn that Russian Federation would not retaliate immediately for the sanctions - a surprise to many foreign policy experts.

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