On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that Andrea Thompson, a State Department official in managing U.S. arms control negotiations with Russia, had a years-long personal friendship with GOP operative Paul Erickson, the boyfriend of admitted Russian agent Maria Butina — and failed to disclose this either to the Senate during her confirmation hearings, or to her superiors at the State Department.
Thompson serves as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and National Security Affairs, and was confirmed to that role in February.
Erickson, who has himself faced investigation as a possible unregistered agent of Russia, and who was indicted in February on unrelated wire fraud and money laundering charges by federal prosecutors in South Dakota, even officiated Thompson's wedding to former Australian Army officer David Gillian in 2017, while Thompson was serving as a national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence.
Administration officials say that she should have voluntarily disclosed these ties, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has pledged to investigate the matter.
Butina, an associate of Russian central bank figure Alexander Torshin, was allegedly at the heart of a scheme to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and create a backchannel through which Moscow could influence the Republican Party. She admitted to being a Russian agent in federal court, although in recent weeks she has tried to change tack and deny it. As part of the investigation, federal prosecutors have scrutinized her relationship with Erickson.