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Russia says it stopped Mitt Romney from becoming secretary of State: report

Russia says it stopped former Republican presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTwo sheriff's deputies shot by gunman in Utah Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS On management of Utah public lands, Biden should pursue an accountable legislative process MORE from becoming President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE’s secretary of State, according to The New Yorker.

The magazine, in a report about Christopher Steele, says the former British spy authored a separate dossier with “a senior Russian official” as its source. That source said individuals inside Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed to have stopped Romney from becoming head of the State Department. 

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Steele’s memo said Russia used “unspecified channels” to request that Trump choose a secretary of State who would remove “Ukraine-related sanctions,” according to the report. The Kremlin also reportedly wanted the department's head to accommodate Russia in regards to Syria, where the Russian government has been backing President Bashar Assad in a years-long civil war.

Romney was reportedly under consideration for the State Department post, and met with Trump during the transition period. But the president ultimately chose current Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonBiden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet With salami-slicing and swarming tactics, China's aggression continues Lawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office MORE

Romney, who announced a run last month for Senate in Utah, took a tough stance on Russia during his own 2012 presidential campaign. He famously sparred with former President Obama during a debate, during which Obama chided Romney for his views on Russian aggression.

Steele compiled an unverified and controversial dossier detailing Trump's alleged ties to the Kremlin. That document became a flashpoint in the probe into Russia's election meddling and any possible ties between the Trump campaign team and Moscow.