As expected, the Donald Trump administration withdrew its nomination today of Sam Clovis for a USDA position. This was nearly a given, considering that George Papadopoulos implicated Clovis in the Trump-Russia scandal this week, and Clovis testified before a Robert Mueller grand jury this week. His Senate confirmation hearing would have been entirely about the scandal. Now one new key detail sure makes it look like Clovis has flipped on Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump.
As Palmer Report spelled out earlier this week, there were two distinct possibilities when it came to the Sam Clovis grand jury testimony. The first was that he was not truly cooperating, and he had either showed up voluntarily to testify in his own defense, by subpoena in a case against a different Trump-Russia adviser. The second was Clovis had flipped, and was testifying in incriminating fashion against someone higher up the chain.
ABC News is confirming that the Trump White House didn’t know Sam Clovis had testified in the grand jury until reading about it in the news (link). Then administration then withdrew Clovis’ nomination today in response. This means that Clovis didn’t even bother to inform the Trump team that he was testifying, let alone try to coordinate strategy. Considering that Clovis had a pending nomination for a position in the Trump administration, his failure to notify the Trump team of his grand jury testimony strongly suggests that it’s because he’s flipped. There are only two people he could have flipped on.
George Papadopoulos has asserted that Sam Clovis and Jeff Sessions knew about his plot to conspire with the Russian government to alter the outcome of the election. In turn Clovis answered to Jeff Sessions, who in turn answered to Donald Trump. Robert Mueller would only cut a deal with Clovis if he was willing to flip on Session or Trump. Flipping on Sessions would force Sessions to flip on Trump. So if Clovis has flipped, he’s made the conscious decision to sell them both out.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report