The Senate approved former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to serve as the United States’s ambassador to Russia:
The Senate has confirmed Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., of Utah, to be Ambassador of the United States to the Russian Federation
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) September 28, 2017
On Thursday, the Senate Cloakroom announced Huntsman’s confirmation, placing him in a high-stakes position as one of the U.S.’s top diplomats for a country suspected of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Under former President Barack Obama, Huntsman served as an ambassador to China. His new position will likely involve smoothing over relations after Congress and the president thrust sanctions on Russian entities, provoking a backlash from Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev.
Those sanctions were partly concerned with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, something that Russian President Vladimir Putin denies but Huntsman believes absolutely happened.
Earlier in September, Huntsman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that relations between Russia and the United States were at “a low point” akin to the period preceding the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. He also countered Putin’s claim and said there was “no question that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year.”
“Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies,” Huntsman added.