Ex-Trump Campaign Official Withdraws From Nomination Amid Questions In Russia Probe

Ex-Trump Campaign Official Withdraws From Nomination Amid Questions In Russia Probe

Ex-Trump Campaign Official Withdraws From Nomination Amid Questions In Russia Probe

Court documents showed an unnamed "campaign supervisor" was in communication with Papadopoulos about his attempts to arrange a meeting between campaign and Russian officials. The post for which he was nominated is the Agriculture Department's chief scientist, but Clovis has no scientific background.

In March 2016, Trump called Papadopoulos an "excellent guy" during an interview with The Washington Post's editorial board. Papadopoulos aired those offers within the campaign and, according to court documents, received encouragement about building those relationships.

During Sessions' confirmation hearing, Franken asked if he knew of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Sessions said he had not had meetings with Russians during the campaign.

Asked about a 2016 meeting that included former adviser George Papadopoulos, Trump told reporters: "I don't remember much about that meeting". Page said the trip was unrelated to his work for the Trump campaign, CNN said.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he did not remember much about a meeting last year with a former campaign aide who pleaded guilty this month as part of a federal investigation into alleged Russian meddling in last year's USA election campaign.

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Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said, "Sam Clovis was nearly a comically bad nominee, even for this administration". Papadopoulos had told campaign superiors for months that the Russian government had "dirt" on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton including "thousands of emails". Roberts on several occasions had expressed a lack of enthusiasm about Clovis's nomination.

Clovis holds a doctorate in public administration and was a professor of economics at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, before joining the Trump campaign in 2015 as national co-chair. In 2011, Clovis said federal grant money was "immediately addictive like some street drug" to state and local officials.

The White House has moved to distance itself from Papadopoulos. In an interview with E&E News from October 2016, Clovis said that a Trump administration would not prioritize climate change at the USDA, a sharp break from the Obama administration, which sought to tackle agriculture's contribution to global warming and help farmers adapt to climatic changes. An opponent said the nomination was "political payback" to Clovis for helping Trump win rural votes.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat who sits on the Senate intelligence committee, said that despite Sessions' testimony before the panel earlier this year, "it turns out he was at this meeting with George Papadopoulos".

In February, a few weeks after being sworn in as president, Trump was asked at a news conference whether anybody who advised his campaign had any contacts with Russian Federation. "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".

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