Trump to nominate Jon Huntsman for Russia ambassador

Trump to nominate Jon Huntsman for Russia ambassador

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE on Tuesday announced his intent to nominate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Russia.  

"Governor Jon Huntsman has had a distinguished career as a politician, diplomat, and businessman," the White House said in a press release. 

"His robust record of public service includes service as U.S. Ambassador to China and to Singapore, Deputy United States Trade RepresentativeDeputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development.  He was also twice elected Governor of Utah."

The nomination of Huntsman to the diplomatic post had been a rumored possibility through most of Trump's time in office.

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In March, NBC News reported that Huntsman had accepted the role after reports surfaced that talks about the nomination were in progress. 

The announcement comes as the Trump administration continues to be bogged down by ongoing federal and congressional probes that are looking into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

There had also been buzz that the former Utah governor could be a possible secretary of State candidate, but Trump ultimately chose Rex Tillerson for the top position.

Huntsman had endorsed Trump during the campaign last year, but later called for the GOP candidate to drop out of the race after the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape release that showed Trump talking about sexually assaulting women.

“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor [Mike] Pence [R-Ind.] to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune last October.

The appointment comes on the heels of a bombshell report that revealed Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign after an associate promised him compromising information on the campaign of his father's opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat MORE