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Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist, talks about Trump's promise to "drain the swamp"

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil industry lobbyist, talked about President Trump's campaign promise to "drain the swamp" in Washington and defended the president's agenda during an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on "The Takeout" podcast this week.

Bernhardt sidestepped a question from Garrett asking whether his history as a lobbyist could be seen by average Americans as "swampy," pivoting to talk about how his experience has been a boon in enacting the president's priorities.

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"I am a big believer in the president's agenda. I am a big believer in what he's set out to do for the country," Bernhardt said. "And part of that is making the Department of the Interior work better in a number of ways ... and part of being able to do that is certainly having some folks who have the experience and know how to do it and expertise."

"At the end of the day, I work for the president, and nothing — nothing — I will ever do is going to deviate from his priorities, provided I have the lawful means to do it," Bernhardt said.

Bernhardt also said that he has "spent a lot of time with ethics officials." His predecessor, Ryan Zinke, stepped down amid several ethics investigations.

Bernhardt also denied that his policies benefit the companies he used to represent as a lobbyist.

"I was not motivated in any particular matters where former employers were a party," he said.

Bernhardt also defended the decision to relocate Interior Department headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado. He denied that this move had anything to do with Republican Senator Cory Gardner's tough race for re-election in 2020.

"That is completely wrong," Bernhardt said about the allegations.

For more of Major's conversation with David Bernhardt, download "The Takeout" podcast on  iTunesGooglePlaySpotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).  

Producers: Arden Farhi, Katiana Krawchenko, Jamie Benson and Sara Cook
CBSN Production: Alex Zuckerman, Eric Soussanin and Grace Segers
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