Published: Fri, November 03, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump nominee for top Agriculture post withdraws amid Russian Federation probe

Trump nominee for top Agriculture post withdraws amid Russian Federation probe

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Des Moines Register that officials respect his decision to withdraw.

In a letter today to the committee's chairman, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), and ranking member, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the scientists noted that neither Clovis's educational background nor his academic positions meet the statutory requirements for the position of Under Secretary for Research, Economics and Education.

CNN first reported Clovis' decision Thursday morning.

Sam Clovis, who had been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the chief scientist for the United States Department of Agriculture, has withdrawn from consideration after being caught up in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Clovis is a self-described skeptic of climate change.

"The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day", he wrote. "As I am focused on your success and the success of this administration, I do not want to be a distraction or negative influence, particularly with so much important work left to do for the American people", Clovis also wrote.

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The USDA press office did not respond Wednesday to repeated requests for comment about the nominee's agricultural experience. A USDA spokesperson confirmed Clovis will stay on in that capacity.

The second indictment concerned former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who admitted to making a false statement to FBI investigators who asked about his contacts with foreigners claiming to have high-level Russian connections.

Still, Sessions' defense of the Comey firing - and his insistence that it stemmed from the handling of the Hillary Clinton email case - was consistent with the initial explanation by the White House. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, along with lawyers Ty Cobb, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, advised Trump to be cautious with his public responses, but they were a private sounding board for his grievances, advisers said... The FBI did not identify Clovis. To that end, he tried several times to set up meetings between Trump campaign and Russian government officials. In reality, the group met only once or twice and didn't really function.

"Given the importance of climate change to the future of USA agriculture, this comment alone should disqualify Mr. Clovis", the scientists said. "That's something I've tried to communicate to Democrats in Washington when they get overly absorbed with Russian Federation and with Trump is to say, 'Look, most people don't have the time to sit down and watch the political talk shows or read the political newspapers'". He also testified that he was "not aware" of anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicating with the Russians. "As we consider his nomination, I will be looking into these facts, along with his questionable qualifications and long history of divisive and outrageous statements".

A separate former campaign official said the national security team was assembled "to demonstrate that then-candidate Trump was becoming more informed on foreign affairs issues".

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