K.T. McFarland, picked by President Donald Trump as his nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, asked him on Friday to withdraw her stalled nomination.
McFarland was on Trump’s presidential transition team and later appointed as the deputy national security adviser under Michael Flynn.
Trump had nominated McFarland last May to be the U.S. envoy to Singapore, but when the U.S. Senate did not act on the nomination by the end of 2017 the White House resubmitted her nomination in early January.
McFarland’s nomination became stalled due to concerns about her testimony to Congress over communications with Russia, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in December.
“I am asking that you withdraw my nomination to be the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore,” McFarland said in a letter sent to the president, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. “I have come to this decision reluctantly, because I believe in your mission.”
McFarland said in the letter that she believed Trump had “laid the foundations for a new foreign policy that puts America’s interests ahead of, but not at the expense of, our obligations to others.”
“Know that I have no intention of withdrawing from the national debate and I want to help you in whatever way I can,” she said.
McFarland, a former Fox News national security analyst, had said in a written response to a question from a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member that she was “not aware” of communications between Flynn and Sergei Kislyak, when Kislyak was ambassador to Russia.
The New York Times reported it had obtained an email McFarland sent on Dec. 29, 2016, the day former President Barack Obama’s administration authorized new sanctions against Russia, saying Flynn would talk to Kislyak that evening.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors delving into the actions of Trump’s inner circle before he took office.
(Additional reporting by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler)
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