“Let’s give a big round of applause to our departing contestant, George Papadopoulos. But don’t feel bad for George, he won’t be leaving empty handed. He’ll be receiving a suspended sentence, a certificate for five free years of probation, and a copy of our home bracelet!”
You all remember good old George, right? The “coffee boy,” who dressed in a sleeveless scuba top, and thought that working in politics was like being the lead character in the movie “Arthur,” but with more intrigue? Apparently, Robert Mueller has had a refill on his mocha latte, cuz he’s released Georgie-boy for sentencing. Which means that the last time we hear Papadopoulos’ name will be for his sentencing, since legal minds agree that if he was going to testify, Mueller would likely hold off on his sentencing, to ensure cooperation in his testimony. So, adios my little barista.
But even coffee boys have bosses, and to my mind, it’s Papadopoulos’ boss whose name we may well be hearing in the news soon. His name is Sam Clovis, and you may want to file that name in the back of your mind, so you’ll remember who he is when he starts popping up on news coverage.
Sam Clovis is a “traditional” Republican, when compared to the Chinese fire drill that was the rest of the Trump for Exalted Poobah campaign apparatus. He was a high mucky muck in Iowa HOP politics who rose to the position of co-chairman and policy adviser on the Trump campaign. According to previous reporting, he was also George Papadopoulos’ direct supervisor. And this is important.
It’s important because Papadopoulos says that he directly told Clovis about his English professor buddy with the ties to Russia that could get e-mail dirt on Hillary. More importantly, Papadopoulos says that when he asked Sam Clovis what he wanted him to do about this, Clovis told him to “go for it.” If that can be proven, by, say an e-mail with instructions from Clovis, or a travel voucher for Papadopoulos to meet with his contact, signed by Clovis, it could lead to Clovis facing a charge of Conspiring Against the United States.
You’ll notice, since day one Robert Mueller has been rolling up the poster from the bottom. None of the “major” players with guilty pleas are up for sentencing yet, people like Michael Flynn or Rick Gates. Likely they are needed for testimony, and lots of it. But Papadopoulos is being sprung to get his comeuppance. Which would logically mean only one of two things. Either Papadopoulos was unable to provide enough detail and evidence on Clovis to prove his assertions, or Mueller has already rolled Clovis up in a carpet and stuffed him in the trunk.
Sam Clovis is not a bit player here. As a vice chair in the campaign, there were not many people for him to report to. Corey Lewandowski would have been one of them. Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr also come to mind as frequent points of contact. One can sanely ask if Clovis would have given Papadopoulos the go ahead to pursue his Russian contact without at least bouncing off of someone above him. And while Corey Lewandowski swears on a stack of bibles that he never met Papadopoulos, if Papadopoulos was reporting to Clovis, Lewandowski may well have known of Papadopoulos through Clovis without ever actually meeting him. And don’t forget that picture of Papadopoulos sitting at a conference table with Trump and Sessions, and Sessions later admitting that the proposition of Papadopoulos seeking Russian dirt on Hillary had been brought up at the meeting, with Sessions advising against it.
Sam Clovis was no coffee boy, he was a trusted member of the team. Trusted enough that after Trump was inaugurated, he pegged Clovis to run the USDA as a reward for his service. When that fell apart, due to Clovis’ rampant climate change denial, and lack of qualifications, Trump made Clovis his USDA liaison to the White House.
This is another reason to suspect that we may be hearing more about Clovis before very long, he’s suddenly taking it on the lam. I’m pretty sure that White House liaisons to the USDA make enough that they don’t qualify for food stamps, but on very short notice, Clovis announced that he was leaving his post and returning to Iowa, Thursday was his last day. Call me a suspicious old fart, but this sounds to me somewhat like a guy pulling a bank job in Cleveland, and then scooting down to Key West until the heat cools off. Clovis is no Scott Pruitt, he isn’t embroiled in any raging scandals, why would he suddenly leave a good paying, low responsibility job, and go back to stomping around in cow shit? And right after George Papadopoulos gets released to face the music for his sins? Something just doesn’t add up here.
Yeah, yeah, I know, Sam Clovis is a big nobody. But admit it, you never heard of George Papadopoulos either, until he slurred out a story to an Australian diplomat about getting stolen e-mails from the Russians either. If I’m wrong, so be it. Hell, crow ain’t so bad if it’s plucked and properly marinated. But I just get the nagging feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Sam Clovis gracing out television screens.