White House re-nominates McFarland despite Democrats' warnings

The White House decided to re-nominate a a former deputy national security adviser for an administrative post ...

Posted: Jan 9, 2018 8:47 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2018 8:47 AM

The White House decided to re-nominate a a former deputy national security adviser for an administrative post despite warnings from Democrats they are unlikely to support her amid questions about previous congressional testimony.

On Monday, the White House re-submitted dozens of names to the Senate for administration posts after their nominations expired at the end of last year.

Flynn's plea agreement appeared to be at odds with McFarland's testimony to Congress

McFarland said she wasn't aware of Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak

Included in the slate: K.T. McFarland, the national security pundit and one-time deputy national security adviser who President Donald Trump tapped to become the US ambassador to Singapore.

Last month questions were raised about whether McFarland properly disclosed to Congress her communications with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleased guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

Flynn's plea agreement appeared to be at odds with McFarland's testimony to Congress, during which she said she wasn't aware of Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

While McFarland was not mentioned in the Flynn court filings, sources confirmed that she was the transition official who spoke to Flynn. Moreover, a New York Times report revealed that McFarland mentioned Flynn's communications with the Russian ambassador in a separate email on December 29.

In her testimony on Capitol Hill last year, McFarland did not disclose those conversations, despite being asked directly in written correspondence with Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey.

"Did you ever discuss any of Gen. Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak directly with General Flynn?" Booker wrote to McFarland in July.

McFarland responded: "I am not aware of any of the issues or events as described above."

If McFarland's nomination is to move forward, she'll likely be required to answer questions about her contacts with Flynn surrounding the Russia phone calls.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, whose committee oversees the McFarland nomination, told CNN in December that Democrats had already expressed concerns over McFarland's nomination.

"Nominees that have other productive lives they can lead probably have to assess themselves whether it makes a lot of sense to continue on because it does put your life on hold," the Tennessee Republican said. "Before any of these other things came out, there were significant Democratic objections to this nominee -- the nominee is aware of that. This obviously makes it more difficult."

McFarland was one of 76 names the White House resent to the Senate on Monday after their nominations expired. Trump has accused Democrats of stonewalling his nominees.

They include Alex Azar, Trump's nominee to become secretary of Health and Human Services; James Bridenstine, his choice to lead NASA; Ricahrd Grenell, the conservative activist chosen as ambassador to Germany; Jerome Powell, Trump's Federal Reserve chairman nominee; and Sam Brownback, the former Kansas governor tapped to serve as ambassador at large for religious freedom.

The list also includes several judicial picks and top ranking officials at Cabinet agencies.

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