Sam Clovis, a conservative blogger and radio host who was nominated for the position of the USDA’s chief scientist, has withdrawn his nomination due to his ties to the Russia investigation currently being led by Robert Mueller. The Washington Post reports that Clovis sent a letter to the White House withdrawing his name for consideration.

“The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position,” wrote Clovis. “The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases with intensity each day.”

Clovis’ name came up in Mueller’s Russia investigation when court documents revealed that he encouraged George Papadopoulos to meet with Russian officials. Clovis denied any wrongdoing in the Russia probe and stated that he would retain his position as the USDA’s senior White House advisor.

A hearing on Clovis’ appointment was set to begin on November 9. The Post previously reported that Clovis stated that he had no scientific or academic credentials in agriculture but gained experience in agriculture through courses in his academic career and through two unsuccessful campaigns for public offices in Iowa.

Source: Washington Post (Clovis’ background; Clovis’ withdrawal)