Friday, May 04, 2018

Controversial Clovis leaves Agriculture Department

Sam Clovis (Associated Press photo by Charlie Neibergall)
Liz Crampton reports for Politico, "Sam Clovis, the former Trump campaign aide who had been serving as USDA's liaison to the White House, is leaving the Agriculture Department and will return home to Iowa, a USDA official confirmed Thursday evening."

Clovis was a co-chairman and policy adviser for the campaign and led the initial USDA transition team, but when the president nominated him to be USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics, he ran into "a torrent of criticism from Senate Democrats and environmental advocates," Crampton notes. "Clovis drew fire for his skepticism of climate science, past comments on issues like race and gender, and what critics on the left said was his lack of scientific credentials that are legally required for the position, which would also have had him serve as the department's chief scientist."

He withdrew from consideration in November, "shortly after he was swept up in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russian interests," Crampton writes. "While serving on the campaign, Clovis had supervised George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who struck a plea deal on charges he lied to FBI investigators about his communications with Russia-linked contacts. Clovis' withdrawal followed shortly after news of Papadopoulos' plea deal. More recently, Clovis had been posted to the Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide guidance."

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