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The news first broke late yesterday morning here on KXEL…Sioux Citian Sam Clovis had withdrawn his name from consideration for a position with the USDA. The nomination of the Air Force veteran and former college economics professor had been controversial from the start, with some on both sides of the political spectrum suggesting Clovis was not qualified to become the USDA’s Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, often called the department’s “chief scientist”, and his nomination hearings set for next Thursday were bound to be prickly.

But the situation became fully untenable after revelations this week that Clovis had contact with George Papadapolous, the man who entered a plea of guilty to lying to the FBI during the Mueller investigation. While Clovis himself does not appear to be a target of the probe, it’s believed that he did testify before the grand jury, and that the White House was not aware of that fact.

The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position. The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day.,” Clovis wrote in his withdrawal letter. “ As I am focused on your success and the success of this Administration, I do not want to be a distraction or negative influence, particularly with so much important work left to do for the American people.”

Clovis has been and remains a Senior White House Advisor with regard to the USDA. So those who thought his influence that started when he became a national co-chair of the Trump campaign prior to the Iowa Caucuses would be diminished will be mistaken.

Perhaps the president should nominate someone from Texas for the job Clovis was to have had. That might lead Sen. Ted Cruz to remove the block on Bill Northey’s nomination for a USDA position…trading and Iowan for a Texan, in essence.

That’s not exactly draining the swamp…but it’s a pretty dense and murky swamp.

And that's the Iowa Politics report for Friday, November 3, on twitter at iowapolitics. Listen to today's segment here:

  • @iowapolitics
    Jeff Stein is a national award-winning broadcaster, with 35 years of experience in Iowa radio and television. He has covered every Iowa presidential caucus since 1980, and has been a featured political analyst on the Fox News Channel, PBS News Hour, and various television and radio stations in Iowa. He also produces and hosts the syndicated "Iowa Almanac" daily feature, and the weekly public affairs program, "The IowaWatch Connection".

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