Trump’s pick for Russian ambassador: 'No question' Moscow interfered in US election

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R), President Trump’s choice to serve as U.S. ambassador to Russia, said Tuesday that there is “no question” that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election. 

Huntsman made the declaration during his opening statement when testifying before Congress at his confirmation hearing. 

“There is no question that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year,” Huntsman said, adding, “Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies.” 


Trump has at times voiced doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia sought to influence the outcome of the election using cyberattacks and disinformation, suggesting that other actors could have been responsible. 

Trump said he confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly on the matter during a face-to-face meeting in July, and Putin denied it.

Russia’s efforts are currently under investigation by multiple congressional committees and, separately, special counsel Robert Mueller, who is spearheading the federal probe into whether there was coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow. The Trump administration has denied any collusion.

Meanwhile, tensions between the United States and Russia have flared in recent weeks, spurred by new penalties Congress levied on Moscow for its interference. 

Huntsman, himself a former presidential candidate, on Tuesday blamed Russia’s meddling for current tensions between Washington and Russia, echoing Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWhite House aides planned to announce McMaster with other departures: report Trump considered ousting Kelly and serving as his own chief of staff: report Trump replaces McMaster with Bolton as national security adviser MORE by citing the “low level of trust” between both countries. He signaled that he would raise the issue of election meddling in his interactions with Russian officials if confirmed. 

“I will also not hesitate to remind government officials that they are accountable for their actions,” Huntsman told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Interference in the U.S. election had led directly to the current low level of trust in the relationship." 

Huntsman, a former ambassador to China and Singapore, labeled the U.S. relationship with Russia “among the most consequential and complex foreign policy challenges we face.”