US Senate Panel Endorses Huntsman as Trump’s Ambassador to Russia

© Reuters. Former Governor Jon Huntsman testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be ambassador to Russia on Capitol Hill in Washington.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously endorsed former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be President Donald Trump‘s first ambassador to Russia on Tuesday, paving the way for his likely Senate approval in full.

At his confirmation hearing on September 19, Huntsman had said there was “no question” that Moscow meddled in the 2016 US elections and vowed to raise the matter with the Russian government.

Accusations that Russia interfered with the vote to increase Trump’s chances of winning the White House, denied by both Trump and Moscow, have cast a shadow over the first months of Trump’s presidency.

Huntsman’s hard line during his hearing was well received by several members of the foreign relations panel.

Many members of Congress, including several of Trump’s fellow Republicans, are concerned that the president will not take a hard enough line in his dealings with Russia to combat Russian expansionism in Eastern Europe or his support for the Syrian government in the civil war in that country.

A full Senate vote on Huntsman’s confirmation has not yet been scheduled.

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