A partisan combatant, a remorseful blogger: The Senate staffer behind the attack on the Trump-Russia investigation

Jason Foster, chief investigative counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, fits a classic Washington profile: A powerful, mostly unknown force at the center of some of the most consequential battles on Capitol Hill. For the last year, Foster — empowered by his boss, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the committee’s chairman — has been the behind-the-scenes architect of an assault on the FBI, and most centrally its role in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to interviews with current and former congressional aides, federal law enforcement officials and others. With Foster in charge of his oversight work, Grassley has openly speculated about whether former FBI director James Comey leaked classified information as Comey raised alarms about President Donald Trump’s possible interference in the Russia probe. Grassley and the other Republicans on the committee have questioned the impartiality of a former member of Mueller’s team, cast doubt on the credibility of the FBI’s secret court application for permission to surveil a Trump campaign associate and called for a second special counsel to investigate matters related to Hillary Clinton. A firm that conducted opposition research on Trump has made clear in court it believes Grassley’s committee, with Foster as its lead investigator, had leaked sensitive information about its business.

NY Times: Ben Ray Luján among those targeted by Russian hackers

Congressman Ben Ray Luján had his emails hacked by those with ties to Russians, according to a report in the New York Times. Luján was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an organization that seeks to elect more Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives. The DCCC was the target of the hacking incident, which was  similar to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Media reports have also said that the Republican National Committee saw its emails hacked, though the organization has denied this. The DCCC acknowledged it was hacked in July of this year.

Clinton political director comes on NM, talks down-ballot races

A Democratic National Convention bus tour took a break from hitting swing states to drive into New Mexico for a couple of quick rallies Friday, and the focus was clear: Democrats want not only to elect Hillary Clinton, but also win down-ballot races. Clinton campaign Political Director Amanda Renteria told NM Political Report that state- and local-level races are very important. “One of the big lessons of the Obama administration is that he would enact stuff and it would go to the state and it gets torn apart,” she said. “Some people actually didn’t buy into the Affordable Care Act, as you see some of his policies on climate change get unraveled on the state level.”

When asked why the bus tour, which has already hit 20 states, came to New Mexico which most agree is a safe state for Clinton, Renteria specifically mentioned the state House. “One of the things the secretary has been focused on from the very beginning is not just winning the White House but making sure she has a team across the country,” she said.


Trump’s ABQ fundraiser looks like it didn’t raise much

Only five New Mexicans gave a total of $32,000 to the joint fundraising committee that held a $10,000-per-person event in Albuquerque in late May. It’s unlikely the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee raised the $230,000 some might have expected for the May 24 event attended by 23 people who had paid to be there. A spokesman for the New Mexico GOP gave NMID that attendance number last month. Three New Mexicans donated $10,000 each while two others gave $1,000 each to the Trump Victory committee, according to a report filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission listing donations through June 30. Another joint fundraising committee for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump netted $13,450 from New Mexicans during the same period, records show.

Rubio raises possibility of VP Martinez

Gov. Susana Martinez is once again receiving attention for a possible national political positions. Republican Presidential candidate and Florida Senator Marco Rubio spoke in South Carolina about those he thought would be good choices for a running mate on a presidential ticket and mentioned Martinez by name. From Reuters:
Rubio said the good news is Republicans have a deep talent pool from which to pick a vice presidential running mate. One name that he mentioned in particular: the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez. Rubio said a VP choice “has to be someone who is ready to be president” and “someone you can work with.”