Sam Clovis – the woefully unqualified former Trump campaign official tapped to become the lead scientist at the USDA – has withdrawn from consideration amid reports that he recently appeared before Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury.
With zero academic credentials and no background in science, he was an absurd pick. His past statements also provide alarming insight into his far-right, extremist world view, having called environmentalism the “destruction of capitalism and the redistribution of wealth, not just in America but around the world,” and argued that Barack Obama “uses his self-identified race as a bludgeon to assault anyone who might disagree with him.”
The prominent Trump advisor has come under investigation by Mueller’s team looking into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian authorities. Clovis was responsible for hiring National Security advisors who have since been swept into the expanding investigation, including Carter Page and – notably – George Papadopoulos.
In unsealed court documents made available to the public this past week, it has emerged that Clovis was aware of Papadopouslos’ attempts to connect Trump officials directly with Russian authorities who had stolen emails from Hillary Clinton in their possession, and actually encouraged him to pursue meetings with these officials as late as August 2016.
Upon withdrawing, Clovis remarked: “The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position.” How an incompetent crony such as Clovis could ever have been fairly nominated for a science position in the first place is anyone’s guess.
This latest political casualty of the Mueller investigation has likely contributed to the full-on chaos engulfing the White House right now. According to a report from Vanity Fair, one longtime Trump ally commented that the president is “fucked.” Steve Bannon apparently does not think that Trump would survive a 25th amendment cabinet vote on his competence, and White House officials not yet sucked in by the Russia investigation’s vortex are apparently fleeing rooms whenever the topic comes up.
As fear surges, expect more resignations. And more indictments.