Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing renewed questions over how much he knew about Russian efforts to interfere with the USA election, after it was revealed this week that he attended meetings with a Trump campaign adviser who claimed to have extensive contacts with Russians.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Des Moines Register that officials respect his decision to withdraw.
In a letter to Sessions on Thursday, Sen.
"The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position", Clovis wrote.
"The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day", he wrote. "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".
Sessions immediately rejected the proposal to arrange a meeting and thought that put an end to the idea, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified commenting on private discussions.
If his nomination had been confirmed, Clovis would have overseen the department's almost $3 billion investment in research and education grants.
Leaders of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan Hold Presser in Tehran (LIVE VIDEO)
Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran received Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday in Tehran. Putin will also take part in a summit with his Iranian and Azerbaijani counterparts, Hassan Rouhani and Ilham Aliyev.
The White House did not comment Wednesday night, and messages to Clovis' attorney regarding the latest developments in the Russian Federation investigation were not returned.
Additionally, Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos plead guilty to charge of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In testimony submitted to Capitol Hill investigators, Kushner said he "shook hands" and "exchanged brief pleasantries" with Kislyak. The attorney, Victoria Toensing, said in a statement that if a volunteer made a foreign policy suggestion, as a "polite gentleman from Iowa (he) would have expressed courtesy and appreciation". Clovis could not stop an American citizen from traveling overseas "in his personal capacity", she said ...
Clovis, who was a major supporter of Trump and who worked on his 2016 presidential campaign, was nominated to be the USDA's chief scientist despite the fact that he has no science or academic credentials. "And if you have a political campaign that is intentionally meeting with a foreign power, that is something we all need to be very, very concerned about", said Ryan, of Howland, D-13th, during a Tuesday meeting with reporters at his Warren congressional office. If Sessions were pushed out, it would give Trump the chance to appoint a new attorney general - who would have the authority to fire Mueller and take over the Russian Federation probe.
There's no evidence that the meeting ever occurred, but the email makes it sound like Trump officials put some planning into it (as opposed to suggesting that Papadopoulos conduct the meeting himself, if he felt like it). The charges against Manafort and Rick Gates, who both pleaded not guilty, are related to alleged activity that doesn't appear to involve the Trump campaign.
The hearing marked a return to the Judiciary Committee for Sessions, who served on it for years as a Republican senator.
The White House says there are no plans to remove Mueller. Likewise, he called Obama a "Maoist" and said Attorney General Eric Holder is a "racist black".