Confirmation Battle Looms Over Biden’s Pick of Nuland for Top State Dept. Spot

Confirmation Battle Looms Over Biden's Pick of Nuland for Top State Dept. Spot nuland in a navy blue blazer speaking at a hearing Victoria Nuland (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

GetFile By John Gizzi Thursday, 07 January 2021 06:18 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Whether Republicans control the Senate or not after all the votes are counted in Georgia’s two Senate runoffs, it is a foregone conclusion that there will be a battle royal over Joe Biden’s expected nomination of Victoria Nuland to be under secretary of state for political affairs.

Now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Nuland served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in the Obama administration and, in that capacity, had extensive dealings with former British spy Christopher Steele and his now-debunked dossier on the Trump campaign’s alleged involvement with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Questioned repeatedly about any involvement with Steele, Nuland has insisted that she avoided any direct contact with the former spy.

Nuland specifically wanted to avoid, she told a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, “any perception that I’m involved in something that could come back to be a Hatch Act violation.” The Hatch Act bans political activity by government employees.

Nuland, however, did admit to setting up two appointments — one of them being her own top assistant — with Steele. These are matters sure to come back in hearings before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Biden is also sure to generate controversy with his expected nomination of Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state. Sherman was considered the top U.S. point person in the Obama administration for the Iran nuclear agreement that was eventually scrapped by the Trump administration.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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