Probe of Trump-Russia links get strong support, poll finds

Sam Clovis

Sam Clovis, a former top campaign official for Donald Trump who urged George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser, to meet with Russian officials during the campaign, withdrew his nomination on Thursday to an Agriculture Department post, the Associated Press reported.

The White House did not respond to request for further comment.

"He didn't say yes and he didn't say no", the official said, declining to be more specific about Trump's response to Papadopoulos.

That's a hard claim to swallow, since Papadopoulos was in regular contact with top campaign officials and met with a number of foreign officials as a Trump surrogate.

Stabenow's office noted in a news release, "The letter comes after new information surfaced this week from criminal filings that were released against former Trump campaign officials".

Gordon said Papadopoulos also offered to appear on the Sunday talk show circuit on behalf of Trump but was turned down.

A former unpaid campaign aide, Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his contact with Kremlin-linked Russians. Also there were Trump and his son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Three former Trump campaign aides have been charged with crimes resulting from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged Russian election interference.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is once again under scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding his candor about Russia and the Trump campaign amid revelations that he rejected a suggestion to convene a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump past year.

President Donald Trump is tweeting that the "biggest story" out of the charges announced Monday in the Russian Federation investigation is the resignation of Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta from his eponymous firm.

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Sessions replied: "I'm not aware of any of those activities".

"Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar", Trump posted on Twitter shortly after 8 a.m. local time, adding: "Check the DEMS!"

The position for which Clovis was nominated has traditionally been held by individuals with advanced degrees in science or medicine. Likewise, he called Obama a "Maoist" and said Attorney General Eric Holder is a "racist black".

"I don't think anybody should be spiking the football on this", he said.

During a March 31, 2016, foreign policy meeting with Trump and other campaign foreign policy advisers, Papadopoulos introduced himself to the group and stated "he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin", according a factual statement signed by Papadopoulos in connection with his guilty plea.

Sessions deflected the questions by maintaining that presidents are entitled to have private discussions with Cabinet secretaries, saying at one point, "I do not confirm or deny the existence of any communication between the president that I consider to be confidential".

"He may still have technically answered the question correctly", said Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat.

Josh Chafetz, a professor at Cornell University Law School, said lawmakers could try to use "various other tools in the congressional arsenal", from reducing Justice Department appropriations to refusing to confirm appointees reporting to him.