Sam Clovis, co-chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and a prominent Iowa Republican, was accused in a bipartisan letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee of lying to congressional investigators as they conducted an inquiry into Russian interference in the last presidential election, according to new reporting from the Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper reported last week it had obtained a copy of a July 2019 letter sent to the Justice Department requesting federal prosecutors investigate Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist in the White House, and others, for potentially providing false testimony to the Senate committee.
According to The Times, Clovis is mentioned in the letter “for possibly lying about his interactions with Peter W. Smith, a Republican donor who led a secret effort to obtain … emails” from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal computer server.
A lawyer for Clovis told The Washington Post: “Mr. Clovis testified at length before the special counsel’s grand jury and was never charged. After his testimony, we never heard again from the special counsel.”
According to The Post, “It is unclear whether the Justice Department took action on the referrals” from the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Officials there and with the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.”
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released its 1,000-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election after investigating the matter for three years. Like the special counsel, the committee found “extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin,” according to the New York Times.
This new reporting is not the first time Clovis has been pinged in connection to Russian meddling in the election. In 2017, in the midst of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, reports surfaced showing Clovis encouraging Trump staffer George Papadopoulos to take a meeting with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. Papadopoulos served a short time in federal prison after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russian officials while working on the Trump campaign.
At the time, Clovis was up for a position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but withdrew his nomination because of his connections to the Russia probe.
Clovis, a Northwest Iowa resident, endorsed this spring Congressman Steve King’s unsuccessful run for a 10th term.
By Elizabeth Meyer
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