Washington • President Donald Trump says the No. 2 official at the State Department may be his next ambassador to Russia.

The president told reporters at the White House that Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan “could very well be” his nominee to fill the post. Ambassador Jon Huntsman announced his resignation earlier this month and said he would be returning home to Utah.

Trump says Sullivan is "very well respected" and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "likes him."

The president was asked about the matter Tuesday following a report in The New York Times that he was expected to nominate Sullivan to replace Huntsman.

Sullivan became deputy secretary of state in May 2017 and has held senior positions in the Justice, Defense and Commerce departments in both Bush administrations.

Editor’s note • Jon Huntsman’s brother Paul Huntsman is the owner and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune.