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Biden team asks Trump-picked Russia ambassador to stay in post

Jennifer Jacobs and Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has asked the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, and a very small number of other Trump political appointees, to temporarily remain in their diplomatic posts, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sullivan, who has been the American envoy in Moscow for little more than a year, would remain in his post as the new administration takes office, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The decision comes as tensions escalate with Vladimir Putin’s government over issues including Sunday’s detention of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.


Biden plans to keep Sullivan until he identifies a replacement because the position is seen as too important to leave vacant, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It’s typical for U.S. ambassadors who are political appointees — as opposed to career State Department diplomats — to resign at the start of a new administration. The vast majority of ambassadors who are Trump political appointees didn’t receive a request to stay and have already made arrangements to leave their posts.

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