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White House Formally Taps Darrell Issa to Lead Trade and Development Agency

California Republican, one of Trump's strongest backers in House, has served since 2000

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has been nominated to lead the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has been nominated to lead the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House officially nominated Rep. Darrell Issa on Friday to be the new director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

The USTDA is an independent federal agency that works to link U.S. companies and exporters to emerging markets in developing countries to help foster U.S. job growth.

Issa, 64, a California Republican and the wealthiest member of Congress, has been one of the president’s staunchest advocates in recent months, actively pursuing claims of bias against the Department of Justice alongside other House conservatives as Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III continues to probe the 2016 Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

Issa is vacating the seat he has held since 2000 in California’s 49th District — and it could be just in the nick of time.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race to replace Issa Leans Democratic after Hillary Clinton carried the district by 7.5 points in 2016. Issa edged his Democratic opponent that year by less than 1 percent.

Democrat Mike Levin will face Republican Diane L. Harkey in the general election this November.

John Bennett contributed to this report.

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