Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, will resign from office effective Oct. 3, he said in a letter to President Trump on Monday.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Huntsman is considering another run for governor of Utah, his home state. He previously served in that office until 2009, when he left to take the post of ambassador to China in the Obama administration. He ran for president in 2012.
“Going forward, we must continue to hold Russia accountable when its behavior threatens us and our allies,” Huntsman wrote in his letter to Trump.
“While much of what divides us is irreconcilable, there are common interests we cannot ignore. No reset or restart is going to help, just a clear understanding of our interests and values — and a practical framework for sustained dialogue.”
Most of Huntsman’s tenure occurred against the backdrop of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He said in May that the conclusion of the special counsel’s probe had led to “slightly improved” relations between Moscow and Washington.
Huntsman, who has served as ambassador since Oct. 3, 2017, was also involved in the case of Paul Whelan, an American citizen in jail in Russia on charges that he is a U.S. government spy. The Russian government has said little about the case, and it has been reported that Whelan is being held as bait in a potential prisoner swap with the U.S.
CNN reported last week that Trump and Putin discussed Huntsman’s pending departure during a recent phone call. The pair did not mention any potential replacements by name, according to CNN.
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