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Trump lawyer: Mueller's safe, I keep telling you

Trump lawyer: Mueller's safe, I keep telling you

In a statement announcing his withdrawal from consideration, Clovis complained that "the political climate has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration" for the USDA post.

"The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day", he wrote.

President Trump's nominee to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) top scientist is in danger of being pulled, according to a new report from CNN.

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.

A White House source familiar with the investigation tells ABC News "the White House was surprised to learn Mr. Clovis had been contacted by the Special Counsel's office as part of their separate probe of Mr. Papadopoulos' activities".

Trump had picked Clovis for the position despite him not having a background in science, and that lack of experience, alongside a history of racially charged and homophobic comments, made his nomination particularly controversial.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientist nominee, Sam Clovis, who now serves as the agency's senior White House adviser, confirmed in an October 17 letter obtained by The Washington Post that he has no academic credentials in either science or agriculture. They knew that Papadopoulos had gone overseas seeking contacts, but that isn't unusual for a foreign-policy adviser. At this event, according to The New York Times, Papadopoulos "pitched the idea of a personal meeting between Mr. Trump and (Russian President) Mr. Putin", but then-Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, "as the campaign's top national security official, spoke vehemently against the idea, asking others not to discuss it again". Papadopoulos later pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his relationship with Russian nationals.

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Court papers unsealed on Monday revealed that George Papadopoulos who worked on the Trump campaign had reached out to a Russian he believed to have links to the Russian foreign ministry to arrange a meeting between the Trump team and Russian officials.

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were indicted, while former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the feds.

Clovis' lawyer, Victoria Toensing, told The Post that Clovis was actually just "being polite" in his response to Papadopoulos, adding that the campaign had a "strict rule that no person could travel overseas as a representative of the campaign".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Papadopoulos was a volunteer who had little connection to Trump.

"He's an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy", Trump said.

"He was going through the list of names".

Sessions advised the Senate Judiciary Committee at the outset of his first oversight hearing as attorney general that he would not answer any questions about conversations with the president that he considered confidential.