Former Trump campaign adviser denies encouraging aide to engage with Russia
Sam Clovis (YouTube)

Sam Clovis, a former senior adviser to President Donald Trump's campaign, never encouraged George Papadopoulos, a one-time foreign policy campaign adviser, to improve relations between the United States and Russia, a lawyer for Clovis said on Tuesday.

In a statement provided to Reuters, attorney Victoria Toensing said Clovis never said that "a principal foreign policy focus of the campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia" and that Clovis opposed any Russian trip by Trump or campaign staff.

Clovis has since been nominated by Trump to a top post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The special counsel investigating the allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign disclosed Monday that Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russians.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)