Iraq nominee returns to Capitol after scandal

The State Department's top Iraq expert returns to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for the first time since his affair with a married reporter derailed his nomination to be ambassador to Baghdad.

Brett McGurk will testify before the House Foreign Affairs panel on the Middle East regarding U.S. policy in Iraq. He was appointed in August to be deputy assistant secretary of State for Iraq and Iran after withdrawing his nomination to be ambassador last year in the face of Republican opposition.

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McGurk's nomination ran into trouble after the emergence of racy emails between him and a Wall Street Journal reporter when he was one of President George W. Bush's top officials in the country and both were married to other people. The emails sparked a campaign against McGurk by Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, six of whom wrote to President Obama at the time decrying what they called the nominee's “unprofessional conduct” and “poor judgment.”

Opposition was led largely by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who faulted McGurk for failing to strike a deal to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after 2011. McGurk will be testifying as spiraling violence has turned Iraq into another Middle East headache for President Obama 

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