“Donald Trump Jr. visits private border wall amid immigration crisis, Mueller aftermath” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. SUNLAND PARK, N.M. – Donald Trump Jr. on Friday used every second of his brief visit to the border to defend his father and his administration, warn against the spread of socialism and alert a friendly Republican crowd that although his father’s reelection next year should be easy, it won’t be in the current political climate. Trump Jr. was a special guest at an event dubbed the Symposium at the Wall: Cartels, Trafficking and Asylum. The three-day affair is put on by the same organizers behind We Build the Wall, the group that raised millions through a GoFundMe account to build a border barrier on the private land where the symposium took place. “What you finally have now is a president who is willing to fight for Americans,” Trump Jr. told the crowd of about 100 people during a 13-minute speech.
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.
When President Donald Trump placed his businesses in a trust upon entering the White House, he put his sons in charge and claimed to distance himself from his sprawling empire. “I hope at the end of eight years I’ll come back and say, ‘Oh you did a good job,'” Trump said at a Jan. 11 press conference. Trump’s lawyer explained that the president “was completely isolating himself from his business interests.” The setup has long been slammed as insufficient, far short of the full divestment that many ethics experts say is needed to avoid conflicts of interest.
The question of whether President-elect Donald Trump will run afoul of federal conflict-of-interest rules or the Constitution because of his extensive foreign investments has been the subject of intense scrutiny among legal and ethics scholars. Legally, his foreign licensing deals could violate the Constitution. An example: During his presidential run, Trump’s name was used to market a never-finished luxury hotel in Azerbaijan, built by the billionaire son of the country’s transportation minister. The deal earned Trump more than $2.8 million between January 2014 and May 2016, according to financial-disclosure filings he filed as a candidate. (See his 2015 and 2016 reports here.)
This story originally appeared on the ProPublica website and is republished through a Creative Commons license.
New Mexico journalists shouldn’t feel too upset that Gov. Susana Martinez’s office doesn’t return phone calls or emails—the governor reportedly did the same to Donald Trump’s campaign manager. That’s part of a story in The New York Times about how Trump came to choose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. A list of 16 names, put together by then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, did not include Martinez. It did include five women. Update: Martinez’s camp said they never were called by Lewandowski.