Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that Russia unequivocally meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
Roll Call reports that Huntsman, President Donald Trump’s pick to be U.S. ambassador to Russia, said “There is no question – underline no question – that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year, and Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies.”
The full Senate is expected to quickly confirm Huntsman following Tuesday’s confirmation hearing.
Foreign Relations Ranking Member Benjamin L. Cardin said he would want to hear from Huntsman about security concerns.
“There have been of course incursions into listening devices in different places to try to compromise the U.S. mission, so we invite your assessment,” the Maryland Democrat said. “We want you to know that we hope that you’ll be very candid with Congress as to needs so that we can work together to make sure those that are on the front line of diplomacy have the protections that they need.”
Huntsman also testified that he would look forward to meeting with the Russian people, leaders of civil society as well as with people opposed to the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The term or title of ambassador, although it might get you into a couple of doors you otherwise might not get in, should also be seen as aspirational and tied to U.S. values,” Huntsman said. “I’ve worn this title before, I’ve seen when you actually express those values and go to the aid of those who are under assault from their governments, they find that there’s hope in what America does. And I’ve found that to be … our most powerful weapon.”