A transition advisor to President Donald Trump wrote in an email weeks before his inauguration that sanctions would make it difficult to ease relations with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him.” In emails obtained by the New York Times, transition advisor K.T. McFarland sought to coordinate with other members of the Trump transition team in the wake of sanctions intended to punish the Kremlin for interfering in the U.S. presidential election. “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,” McFarland wrote to Thomas P. Bossert, who currently serves as Trump’s homeland security adviser. Bossert—who forwarded the exchange to future National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, future Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, future senior strategist Stephen Bannon, and future press secretary Sean Spicer, all of whom have since left the administration—urged other transition officials to “defend election legitimacy now.” The White House said McFarland’s email was intended to express the opinion of Democrats, not herself.
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