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Heather Nauert Spars With Andrea Mitchell Over ‘Stalled’ Ambassador Appointments

Heather Nauert wrangled with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell during her first press briefing on Tuesday as the new spokeswoman of the State Department.

Mitchell had already asked one question, and Nauert was already trying to move on to a different journalist, but the correspondent interjected and raised the issue of staffing at the Cabinet department. She played up “criticism from people on the Hill, quietly from both parties, that the nomination process is stalled here at the State Department. At all levels, nominations have not gone forward.”

Mitchell underlined that “this is not a case…[where] the Democrats are holding up nominees for the State Department,” and wondered, “Is it a deliberate decision now?”

Nauert replied by immediately pushing back, “I would take issue, first, with the premise of your question. There are people moving through the pipeline.” She continued by citing the confirmation of the new ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, on May 22, 2017.

The NBC journalist tried to interject, but the State Department spokeswoman was having none of it and said, “May I finish, please?” The Trump administration official underlined that the vetting/clearance process was in progress.

Mitchell retorted that the issue “wasn’t new to this administration.” Nauert stuck to her talking point about nominees being in “the pipeline.”

Several Twitter users zeroed in on the large binder that the State Department official consulted throughout the briefing.

You can watch the exchange between Mitchell and Nauert in the livefeed of the press briefing above, starting at the 13:35 mark.

[image via screengrab]

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