Trump transition official in email: Russia ‘has just thrown the U.S.A election’
President Trump’s former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland told a friend in an email when she was on Trump’s transition team that Russia “threw” the U.S. election to Trump, The New York Times reported Saturday.
McFarland reportedly wrote in the email that sanctions then-President Obama levied on Russia in response to Moscow’s election meddling would make it more difficult for Trump to improve relations with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him.”
The Times reported that it was unclear whether the transition official was saying she believed that the election had been thrown. A White House lawyer told the newspaper that McFarland was referring to the Democrats’ portrayal of the election.
Emails obtained by the Times show that Trump’s team moved quickly to develop a strategy on how to reassure Russia after learning that Obama would expel 35 Russian diplomats in the weeks before he left office.
The report comes one day after Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in the month before Trump took office.
Flynn had previously denied that he discussed sanctions with the Russian official, but later acknowledged that the issue came up. Trump fired him over the issue in February, 24 days after he took the White House post.
McFarland was reportedly aware of Flynn’s contact with Moscow. An Associated Press report on Friday identified McFarland as a senior transition official mentioned in court documents who discussed with Flynn in 2016 the U.S. sanctions against Russia and potential retaliation from Moscow.
Outlets also identified Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner as the “very senior transition official” referenced in the documents who reportedly pushed Flynn to persuade the Russian government to vote against a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. The U.N. vote ended up advancing.
McFarland served as Trump’s deputy national security adviser until May and is currently awaiting confirmation to be his ambassador to Singapore.
Updated: 4:55 p.m.