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Story highlights

"This is about weakening, like I said, the support that I give and that I have with President Donald Trump and Secretary Kelly, it's to weaken their resolve to hang in there with me," Clarke said.

"Maybe from a formatting standpoint the thesis isn't perfect, but the content is there," Clarke said.

(CNN) —  

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke said this week that a CNN KFile report on plagiarism in his master’s thesis could impact the Trump administration’s decision to hire him for a role at the Department of Homeland Security.

A CNN KFile review of Clarke’s 2013 master’s thesis found 47 examples in which Clarke used passages from sources and credited them with a footnote, without using quotation marks indicating that he took the language verbatim. In several instances, Clarke copied entire sentences while changing or replacing only one or two words.

Clarke has said that he had accepted an appointment as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, but a DHS spokesperson said last week that no announcement of his appointment had been made.

In an interview with radio host Joe Pags that was recorded over the weekend and aired Monday, Clarke responded to the report by saying “time will tell” if he will still be welcome in the administration.

“This is about weakening, like I said, the support that I give and that I have with President Donald Trump and Secretary Kelly, it’s to weaken their resolve to hang in there with me,” Clarke said. “Will it be successful? It might, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over that.”

Asked if he thought that the Trump administration would still hire him after the story, Clarke said, “Who knows? I say that sincerely, because I’m in a political environment, sometimes political decisions are made, President Donald Trump has to do what’s in the best interest of his administration. And they’ve cut people loose before, I don’t know why, so time will tell, but I know that he values loyalty.”

In a separate radio interview on Tuesday morning with “The Sid and Bernie Show,” Clarke defended his thesis and the way he used sources.

“Everything that I put in there had a citation and, naturally, when you accuse someone of plagiarism, it’s not citing stuff. That’s not even what CNN and their political hack Kaczynski said,” Clarke said, referring to CNN KFile reporter Andrew Kaczynski.

“They’re saying certain words and phrases I should have put quotation marks around. OK, alright, fine. Maybe from a formatting standpoint the thesis isn’t perfect, but the content is there.”

Guidelines posted on the Naval Postgraduate School’s website specify that words taken verbatim “must be set off with quotation marks.” According to the school’s honor code, plagiarism is defined as “submitting material that in part or whole is not one’s own work without proper attribution.”