State Department Official with Ties to Maria Butina to Leave Post

The State Department top official for arms control, Andrea Thompson, who was found to have a close relationship with the boyfriend of a Russian agent, will leave her post in October after failing to disclose the relationship.

Thompson’s departure, which comes at a time when the U.S. is seeking to reach a nuclear deal with Russia and China, was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday.

“Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson is a dedicated public servant who brought over 25 years of military experience to her role at the State Department,” he wrote in a statement. “Her wealth of knowledge, experience, and leadership skills will be missed. I thank her for her commitment to the State Department’s mission and for her decades of service to the United States of America. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

A source close to Thompson said that she announced her departure in a letter to President Donald Trump last month, but denied that it was connected to the Butina controversy.

The source added that the timing of her departure was appropriate as it was “delicate and hard to leave during an election year,” as well as that Thompson was looking forward to continuing her career in the private sector.

She will attend the United Nations General Assembly next week, CNN reports, but will not meet with Russians.

According to sources, Butina attended Thompson’s wedding because, at the time, she was dating Paul Ericson, who officiated the wedding and was a longtime close friend with the family. Thompson has denied ever meeting the Russian agent, but multiple sources confirmed that Butina was at the wedding.

The Russian agent was accused of trying to promote Russian interests during the 2016 election. Thompson claimed she was unaware of Butina’s connections to the Russian government.

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