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Tyson lobbyist wounded in baseball shooting is discharged from hospital

Matt Mika is pictured. | AP Photo

Matt Mika, the director of government relations for Tyson’s D.C. office, was sent to the Washington hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to the chest when a lone gunman fired on the June 14 practice. | AP Photo


Justice Department, FBI seem at odds over budget

Andrew McCabe is pictured. | Getty

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee meeting on the FBI's budget requests for FY2018 on Wednesday. | Getty

The firing of FBI Director James Comey isn’t the only thing top Justice Department officials and FBI leaders disagree about at the moment.

They also don’t see eye to eye about something else always of great import in Washington: money.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe have presented starkly different views to Congress about how President Donald Trump’s budget would impact the FBI’s operations.

To hear McCabe describe it, Trump’s budget would require significant belt-tightening across the law enforcement agency.

“It will certainly impact us in many ways. It is a broad and deep reduction that will touch every program. it will touch headquarters. It will touch our field offices,” McCabe told a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday. “It is a reduction that is not possible to take entirely against vacancies. It’s a reduction that will touch every description of employee within the FBI. We will lose agent positions. We will lose analyst positions and, of course, professional staff.”

For his part, Rosenstein sounded much more sanguine about the Justice Department’s budget, insisting that areas such as national security and violent crime would not see any cuts.

“I believe that if you look at the budget, we are not cutting the critical areas — violent crime, terrorism, the areas that you’ve raised are areas where there will be no cuts, cybercrime, all those areas,” Rosenstein said at a parallel Senate hearing, under questioning by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “And so the effort in this budget, as I understand it, is to reduce only in areas that are not critical to those operations.”

Rosenstein also said the number of FBI agents would rise by 150 under the Trump budget to 12,484. (The last data on the FBI website has the agent ranks at about 13,500.)

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The deputy attorney general’s comments were in line with those of Justice Department budget officials, who told reporters last month that the only significant reductions in the department’s budget were deletion of one-time construction costs, funding for cyclical events like the presidential conventions, and the termination of a handful of programs

“Any decreases are in one-time costs for nonessential line items, such as construction costs that are not needed in FY2018,” a Justice spokesman said.

Part of the disparity may be derived from idiosyncrasies of the Trump budget, which was based on funding levels in the continuing resolution passed in April and not the final, full-year omnibus appropriations bill passed in May.

In any event, congressional staff say that in real-world numbers, the FBI is looking at a cut of nearly $45 million from current funding levels of about $8.7 billion for salaries and


The GOP’s one-man fire brigade

Karen Handel wasn’t the only big winner in Tuesday’s special election. Republican operative Corry Bliss, who heads the super PAC officially blessed by House GOP leadership, arguably had just as much riding on the outcome.

He had never managed a House race before he took the helm of the Congressional Leadership Fund, which poured over $10 million into the recent special elections. But now Bliss is coming off four straight victories, and he’s credited with quelling Republican fears that the president will drag down the party's prospects in the 2018 midterm elections.

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“He’s on a hot streak,” said Mark Isakowitz, chief of staff to Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, whose reelection campaign Bliss led to a 21-point victory last year.

Sitting in his office the day after Handel’s win, he says the special election wins mean “probably nothing” about the party’s fortunes in next year’s midterm elections.

But Bliss has proselytized relentlessly about the declining importance of television, which Trump used to great effect, and the rising importance of ground game, something Barack Obama and Democrats were quicker to exploit than their Republican counterparts. He was bitterly critical of what he regarded as the Republican National Committee’s weak field program last year in Ohio, where he built one independently on Portman’s behalf — a move that ruffled feathers with the RNC.

The senator waltzed to victory, but Bliss clashed repeatedly with then-RNC chairman Reince Priebus and his chief of staff Katie Walsh over Portman's field program, and Priebus and Walsh later waved Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan away from hiring him to run the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Sources close to Bliss and Priebus say they have a cordial relationship now.

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“[Bliss]is very intense and he is outspoken and unafraid of saying what he thinks and he doesn’t care if people are offended or not,” said famed GOP ad maker Larry McCarthy.

The results in Georgia appear to have validated Bliss’ unconventional approach. While super PACs rarely invest in field programs, CLF poured over $2 million into the one in Georgia’s 6th District, a risky strategy that allowed Democrats to outspend Republicans on television.

“The traditional mindset is: You can’t be outspent on TV,” Bliss says. “We made the determination that was not necessary to win and that we could be more impactful doing data and field work.”

One example: In liberal DeKalb County, CLF targeted 8,100 voters that it had identified as "reluctant Republicans" and saw a marginal shift in Handel’s direction as a result. Overall, while Democratic turnout in the district was high, Republican turnout was even higher.

Bliss' reputation as a crisis manager precedes this year’s special elections. He was dispatched at the last minute to save Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts’s flailing campaign in 2014 and showed up at campaign headquarters with one sheet of


Palmieri: Obama officials 'made the best decisions they could' on Russia hacking

Jennifer Palmieri is pictured. | AP Photo

Jennifer Palmieri's comments came after the release of an investigation by the Washington Post, which revealed how former President Barack Obama and his aides wrestled with when to release the highly sensitive intelligence, as they feared being accused of trying to influence the election themselves.


3 key changes between the House and Senate Obamacare repeal bills

On Thursday, Senate Republicans announced their version of the GOP health care bill. Here are three key changes. Voiced and edited by Sarah Hashemi. Jason Millman and Dan Diamond contributed to this video.

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