Matt Whitaker’s Small Russia Probe World

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It’s a small world. Our new Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker turns out to be a close friend of Sam Clovis. They ran in the same conservative Iowa political circles for years. Whitaker was even the campaign chairman of Clovis’s campaign for Iowa State Treasurer back in 2014.

Everybody’s got friends and there’s no crime in that. But Whitaker’s ties to Clovis take on a special relevance because of Whitaker’s new role overseeing the Russia probe. Why? Well, Clovis was the guy who chose both George Papadopolous and Carter Page to join the Trump campaign as unpaid foreign policy advisors in March 2016. According to court documents it was Clovis who told Papadopoulos “that a principal foreign policy focus of the Campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia.” Page was reportedly working with Clovis when he got canned from the campaign in the summer of 2016 over his ties to Russia.

Just how Clovis fit into this part of the Trump campaign has never been totally clear. But as you can see from this 2014 video, he was a strong advocate for closer ties with Russia and attempted to justify Russia’s seizure of parts of Ukraine.

It was for these reasons that Clovis appeared before the Mueller grand jury and in part for these reasons that he dropped his bid to be top scientist at the USDA (Clovis is not a scientist).

It doesn’t appear that Whitaker was involved in any of Clovis’s actions now under investigation. But Clovis is clearly a significant witness to key events under scrutiny if not a target of the investigation. The Post’s Robert Costa apparently caught up with Clovis today and Clovis assured him that none of this was “relevant” to Whitaker now being in charge of the probe and that Whitaker was a man of “high integrity.”

Seems like a bit of a problem.

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