K.T. McFarland's nomination may be stalled over reports of deceptive testimony on Flynn

KT McFarland, President-elect Donald Trump's selection to be deputy national security adviser, steps off the elevator after meetings at Trump Tower on December 5, 2016 in New York. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Kena Betancur / AFP/Getty Images

Former Trump transition staffer K.T. McFarland's nomination to be the ambassador to Singapore has stalled in the wake of reports that she may have been deceptive in answering questions from the foreign relations committee about her knowledge of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's conversations with former Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. 

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday appeared to have growing concerns over McFarland's lack of clarity on the issue and say until it's resolved, her nomination may be on hold. 

"Look, it's a problem, her nomination is frozen for awhile until that gets worked and worked out," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee told reporters on Tuesday.

According to The New York Times, McFarland was asked over the summer by Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, whether she had spoken to Flynn about his contacts with Kislyak before the president's inauguration.

"I am not aware of any of the issues or events described above," McFarland wrote back, according to the report.

The New York Times, however, also obtained an email exchange that suggested otherwise -- that McFarland was aware of a phone call Flynn had with Kislyak last December, according to the report.

"General Flynn is talking to the Russian ambassador this evening," she wrote in one email to a transition official, the report said. "If there is a tit-for-tat escalation, Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him."

CBS News' Major Garrett reported on Friday that McFarland was the "senior official" on the presidential transition team Flynn spoke to in Mar-a-Lago on Dec. 29 about Russia sanctions and potential Russian reaction. Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of lying to the FBI.

Corker said that the issue of whether or not McFarland was deceptive with the committee has created a "major pause in her nomination."  At the same time Corker said that he didn't know much about the issue and that dealing with the Singapore post isn't very high on the list of issues. 

Meanwhile, ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, called for McFarland to clarify her remarks to lawmakers.

"There's been a report about an email that she didn't reveal. We've urged that there be, that she come forward to the senate foreign relations committee and clarify some of the information that she made available to or committee," said Cardin.

CBS News' Alan He and Rebecca Shabad contributed to this report.


  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital