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Mueller testimony expected to heighten scrutiny of perceived conflicts with Attorney General Barr

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Robert Mueller's highly anticipated testimony before Congress Wednesday is expected to put renewed scrutiny on Attorney General Bill Barr, whose controversial handling of the special counsel's final report and repeated critiques targeting the origin of the Russia investigation have sparked furor among Democratic lawmakers.

Mueller's delivery of his report in late March immediately put a microscope on Barr just over a month into his tenure as attorney general, and his decision just days later to clear the president of any wrongdoing regarding potential obstruction of justice -- compounded by his repeated public defenses of the president -- has only served to fuel suspicions of his motives.

Democrats are expected to use Mueller’s testimony to highlight what they argue are discrepancies between what they see as damning findings in Mueller’s report paired with Barr’s public statements seeming to downplay Trump’s behavior in response to the special counsel’s investigation.

"As [Trump] said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion," Barr said. "And as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks."

It’s not clear, though, whether Mueller will engage in questioning that seeks to undermine Barr’s statements, as Mueller has pointed to his own report as sufficient testimony and expressed confidence in Barr’s decision to release it to the public.

"The Attorney General preferred to make that — preferred to make the entire report public all at once, and we appreciate that the Attorney General made the report largely public," Mueller said in a May 29 news conference. "And I certainly do not question the Attorney General’s good faith in that decision."

And in a letter to Mueller Monday sent as a response to Mueller seeking guidance about the boundaries of his testimony, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer wrote that all his statements "must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege."

Did Barr and Mueller split over obstruction case?

Democrats initially sought to describe Mueller's news conference in May as a "direct rebuke" to statements make by Attorney General Barr about the role that a long-standing DOJ policy played in Mueller's decision not to say whether President Trump obstructed the Russia investigation.

While Barr and Mueller seem to agree that Mueller never was capable of charging President Trump with a crime, Barr has said he disagreed with Mueller over whether he could publicly state that Trump's conduct was criminal in nature.

"We concluded that we would not reach a determination – one way or the other – about whether the President committed a crime,” Mueller said.

But in an interview with CBS News, Barr said he "personally felt [Mueller] could've reached a decision."

"The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office but he could've reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity," Barr said. "But he had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained and I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons."

“We don’t think Director Mueller is going to change views about what the OLC policy says he can or cannot do despite the Attorney General taking an obviously very different view," a senior House Judiciary committee staffer told ABC News. "But we do think he’s going to lean into his factual findings that his team made as well as the legal positions.”

Asked in a recent New York Times interview why he didn't simply direct Mueller to make a determination, Barr answered that he, "wasn’t going to try to bully him into doing something different."

Barr has also sought to distance the DOJ from Mueller's decision to state that if his team "had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so."

"[That] of course is not the standard we use at the department," Barr said in an interview following Mueller's news conference. "We have to determine whether there is clear violation of the law and so we applied the standards we would normally apply. We analyzed the law and the facts and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined that both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction."

In interviews since the release of the Mueller report, Barr has issued defenses of several of the specific episodes of potential obstruction outlined in Mueller's report.

He has said that Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 would likely not amount to an obstructive act as it would be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the firing impeded the Russia investigation, and that Trump had a "corrupt intent" in ordering Comey's removal.

Barr has also cast doubt over whether Trump ordering former White House counsel Don McGahn to facilitate Mueller's removal as special counsel would have counted as obstruction, because at the time Barr says Trump was venting about what he described as "conflicts" that Mueller may have had.

Though in the special counsel's report, advisers such as Steve Bannon are quoted directly telling the president at the time that his conflict claims were "ridiculous" and "did not count as true conflicts."

The 'snitty' letter: Was Mueller upset with how Barr initially characterized his report's findings?

Another key issue likely to surface in Wednesday's hearings is a letter Mueller penned to Barr in the days following the release of Barr's 'principal conclusions' letter outlining what he saw as the top line findings from the two and a half year investigation.

In that letter, Mueller expressed discomfort that the letter, "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office's work and conclusions."

"There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation," Mueller wrote. "This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations."

In an appearance before Congress on May 1, Barr sought to downplay the apparent concerns expressed by Mueller by detailing a follow-up phone conversation the two had following his receipt of Mueller's letter.

"I can’t speak to the team as a whole, but certainly when I talked to Bob Mueller he indicated he was concerned about the press coverage that had gone on the previous few days and he felt that was to be remedied by putting out more information," Barr said. "He felt that what was inaccurate was the press coverage and what they were interpreting the March 24 letter to say."

Ultimately, however, Barr said he "made it clear" to Mueller on the call that he would not be putting out executive summaries the special counsel's office had incorporated in the report.

"A summary would start a whole public debate, it’s by definition underinclusive and I thought what we should do is focus on getting the full report out as quickly as possible, which we did," Barr said.

That Mueller would send such a letter, though, seemed to irk Barr, as he used it to take a jab at Mueller's deputies near the close of the hearing.

"The letter is a bit snitty and I think it was probably written by one of his staff people," Barr said.

Will Mueller split with Barr on criticism of the Russia investigation's origins?

Since the release of Mueller's report, Barr has delighted Republicans and the president with his renewed push to discover whether there was any corrupt motive among investigators who initially started the investigation of Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

Barr has said he has thus far been given "inadequate" answers regarding the surveillance of members of Trump's campaign who were found to be in contact with Russians during the campaign, and Barr further rankled intelligence officials when he described the FBI's tactics as "spying."

"People have to find out what the government was doing during that period," Barr told Fox News in an interview. "If we're worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale."

Mueller, on the other hand, stayed silent through his two and a half year investigation as Trump and his allies ramped up their attacks on his investigative team, issuing no public statements in response to concerns that he was mounting a 'witch hunt' against Trump with a team of politically motivated investigators.

Though Mueller did not directly address such criticism in his news conference, he did issue a defense of both the investigation of Russia's activities and those who sought to undermine or impede it.

"The matters we investigated were of paramount importance and it was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned," Barr said. "When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrong doers accountable."

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Robert Mueller asks to bring his chief of staff with him for congressional testimony: Sources

Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Former special counsel Robert Mueller has requested to bring his former chief of staff with him for his testimony into Russian interference in the 2016 election scheduled on Capitol Hill Wednesday, sources told ABC News.

Mueller has asked members of both committees to swear Aaron Zebley in to appear as a witness, the sources said.

Witnesses before House committees are generally permitted to have counsel with them.

But if the chairman allows Zebley to be sworn in before the committee, Zebley would also be permitted to speak on Mueller's behalf if the former special counsel so chose.

A spokesperson for Mueller did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Senate confirms Mark Esper as next defense secretary

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate confirmed Mark Esper to be the next U.S. defense secretary in a overwhelmingly bipartisan 90-8 vote on Tuesday. He is expected to be sworn in Tuesday evening, said Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.

Esper will become the first individual to officially step into the role since former defense secretary James Mattis resigned in December over policy differences with the president. In the more than six months following Mattis' resignation, three different men have served as defense secretary in an "acting" capacity.

The Senate moved to expedite Esper's confirmation process before the August recess, amid a large number of vacancies in Pentagon leadership. The eight Democrats who voted against Esper's confirmation included five presidential candidates: Sens. Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kristen Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

Esper served as President Donald Trump's Army secretary and stepped into the role of acting defense secretary on June 24 after his acting predecessor, Patrick Shanahan, withdrew his name from nomination following reports of domestic violence in his family's past.

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, Esper enjoyed broad, bipartisan support for the job but did face questions from several senators, including Warren, about his seven years as chief lobbyist for the defense company Raytheon and how that employment could present a conflict of interest.

In a heated exchange with Warren, Esper acknowledged that, if confirmed, he would not extend his recusal from Raytheon-related matters or commit not to work for or get paid by a defense contractor for four years after he leaves government.

He said that this decision was made at the advice of Department of Defense ethics officials because the screening process he has in place -- which dictates how staff handle any issues that could present a conflict of interest -- is sufficient. He added that he would continue to abide by DOD rules and regulations.

Esper graduated from West Point in 1986 -- the same class as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- and went on to serve in the Army for over a decade, including a deployment to the Middle East during the Gulf War.

Before joining Raytheon, he spent a considerable amount of time on Capitol Hill as a Senate committee staffer and adviser to several senators. He was also the deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy during the Bush administration.

As Army secretary, Esper spent time with the president, traveling with him to an Abrams tank factory in Ohio and to the southern border amidst the deployment of active duty soldiers there.

Esper stepped into his role as acting defense secretary as the Trump administration was considering how to navigate increased tensions with Iran. And in late June, he attended a NATO defense ministerial in Brussels, urging U.S. allies to confront Tehran. The challenge remains top-of-mind for Pentagon leadership following a series of escalatory events in recent weeks between the U.S., its allies, and Iran in the Strait of Hormuz.

During the confirmation process, Esper could not serve in his acting role, so Navy Secretary Richard Spencer assumed the duties of acting defense secretary after the White House submitted Esper's formal nomination to the Senate. Meanwhile, Esper returned to serving as Army secretary.

His confirmation comes as a number of top Pentagon jobs have yet to be permanently filled, including the deputy defense secretary, chief management officer and Air Force secretary.

The Senate will now shift its focus to confirm David Norquist as deputy defense secretary. Norquist, who has been performing the duties of that role since January, will testify before the Senate committee on Wednesday.

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Trump's effort to deport families falls far short of his predictions

VallarieE/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump's promise of sweeping deportation raids has so far resulted in just 35 arrests, about half of which were families, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told reporters on Tuesday.

The coordinated enforcement push fell well short of the "millions" Trump promised on Twitter last month, but has been enough to stoke fear across immigrant communities across the U.S.

There were 18 family members arrested along with 17 others picked up over the course of the operation, Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence told reporters.

Albence would not provide specifics on when or where the family members were arrested, citing concerns for the safety of ICE agents in the field. The enforcement actions targeted families who were issued final orders of removal by an immigration judge.

“We went out there to try and enforce these judges’ orders,” Albence said Tuesday.

The ICE enforcement efforts were limited because they relied on the addresses those unauthorized immigrants provided to authorities, Albence said.

Overall, the Trump administration still falls behind the number of formal removal orders issued under President Barack Obama.

But the Trump administration still continues to modify federal government policy in an effort to conduct larger numbers of deportations.

The Department of Homeland Security formalized a policy change Tuesday to expedite deportations for people who cannot prove they’ve been in the country for more than two years.

The new Homeland Security policy would apply to nearly 300,000 unauthorized immigrants, according to estimates from the Migration Policy Institute.

The rule would require people to prove they were, “physically present in the United States continuously” for two years before the first time they’re told by immigration authorities they cannot be in the country.

Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, said they plan to stop the rule in court.

“Under this unlawful plan, immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court,” Jadwat said in a statement Monday.

Lawyers who constructed the legal framework for the Obama administration’s immigration policies told ABC News that the Trump administration has obstructed itself from carrying out it’s deportation goals.

Peter Vincent, a top ICE lawyer under Obama, Trump’s elimination of the Obama administration’s enforcement priorities have resulted in a less efficient process for deportations.

“The Trump administration has no priorities whatsoever,” Vincent said. “If everything is a priority, it’s axiomatic that nothing is a priority”

The number of unauthorized immigrants issued formal removal orders hit a record high under the Obama administration in 2013 and has continued to decline into the Trump administration.

Leon Fresco, who represented the Obama administration in litigating their immigration policies, said Trump himself has made the job of deporter in chief more difficult announcing ICE arrests on twitter rather than carefully coordinating with state and local authorities.

“You have to build confidence and trust with local communities that grandma isn’t going to be scooped up in this,” Fresco told ABC News.

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O’Rourke doubles down on Trump's North Carolina rally critique

ABC(NEW YORK) -- 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke in a heated discussion with The View cohost, Meghan McCain, doubled down on his comments to ABC News describing President Donald Trump’s North Carolina rally "an impromptu Nuremberg" gathering.

“When he’s asking four women of color to go back to their own country, and then connecting that with everything else that he's doing, calling the press the enemy of the people, there is only one path that will take us down,” O’Rourke said.

He disagreed with McCain, who said his comments – which referenced the types of xenophobic rallies that took place during the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany– may turn off moderate voters, and called his comments extreme.

“We all have to take accountability for our actions," O'Rourke said, adding later "The direction of this country has never been so imperiled or undermined as it is now. This is our defining moment of truth.”

On Monday, during an interview with ABC News Live, the former Texas congressman condemned everything from the president’s immigration policies to his comments against four congresswomen of color, also known as “the Squad.”

“What we saw in North Carolina last week was almost an impromptu Nuremberg rally, inciting hatred and ultimately, implicit violence against people of color, people. Based on their religion and based on their difference from the majority. And it is in keeping with the president who describes Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, who describes asylum seekers as animals and an infestation. The man who calls Klansman very fine people. It very clear the path he is taking us on.”

"Yes, President Trump is a racist," 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke tells ABC News' @BrianaKStewart on @ABCNewsLive. "What we saw in North Carolina last week was almost an impromptu Nuremberg rally ... it's very clear the path that he is taking us on"

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 22, 2019

O'Rourke and his wife Amy appeared in their first national television interview at The View Tuesday morning, discussing immigration, life in El Paso, and the campaign trail ahead.

Amy O’Rourke has been an increasing presence on the campaign trail, introducing herself to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and most recently, New York.

The couple trekked to Ellis Island – which in its day processed more than 12 million immigrants – and as a result, over 100 million Americans: more than 30 percent of the population.

The trip was a chance to trace his and the country's roots to the border battle in his hometown in Texas. It was also a chance for the presidential candidate to dig deeper on one of his signature issues -- immigration -- on the heels of the June debate in Miami where his fellow 2020 hopeful former Housing Secretary Julian Castro said O'Rourke should "do his homework" on the issue.

It also comes on the heels of O’Rourke’s continued stagnation in the polls, as he attempts to “reboot” a campaign that started hot, but in recent months has slid.

Tuesday’s was O’Rourke’s second appearance on The View – the first, where the ladies came down on him hard for his campaign rollout in Vanity Fair, and perceived White Male Privilege – that he was ‘born to run,’ born for the role of president he had yet to convince the nation he deserved. In his first View appearance he also walked back comments he made in his announcement video in March – where he joked that Amy bore the brunt of the childcare, and that he “sometimes helps out” with their three kids – comments which drew wide backlash.

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New Trump administration proposal would cut roughly 3 million people off food stamps

jetcityimage/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A new Trump administration proposal revealed on Tuesday would cut roughly 3 million people from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps.

Democrats immediately blasted the move, claiming it "would take food away from families."

The proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture comes after Congress initially failed to come to an agreement on the issue in the 2018 farm bill, and looks to limit access to SNAP benefits by not automatically enrolling individuals who are also receiving minimal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF.

On call with reporters Monday, Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps said the proposed rule would result in saving an average of $2.5 billion per year.

The department in a press release on Tuesday said the move closes a “loophole,” and said that the program should provide benefits “with consistency and integrity to those most in need.”

“For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in the news release.

“The American people expect their government to be fair, efficient, and to have integrity – just as they do in their own homes, businesses, and communities. That is why we are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it,” he said.

The top Democrat on Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, called the move "yet another attempt by this Administration to circumvent Congress and make harmful changes to nutrition assistance that have been repeatedly rejected on a bipartisan basis."

"This rule would take food away from families, prevent children from getting school meals, and make it harder for states to administer food assistance," the Michigan Democrat said in a statement. "The Administration should stop undermining the intent of Congress and instead focus on implementing the bipartisan Farm Bill that the President signed into law.”

For a household to receive SNAP benefits under the proposed rule it must “receive TANF-funded cash or non-cash benefits valued at a minimum of $50 per month for at least 6 months,” or be eligible for other non-cash benefits like “subsidized employment, work supports, or childcare,” according to the news release.

The proposed rule also comes after a man dubbed the Minnesota Millionaire enrolled in SNAP benefits for several months to prove a point, which the department cited as an example that the program has been too widely expanded.

“The proposed rule would fix a loophole that has expanded SNAP recipients in some states to include people who receive assistance when they clearly don’t need it. In fact, the depth of this specific flexibility has become so egregious that a millionaire living in Minnesota successfully enrolled in the program simply to highlight the waste of taxpayer money,” the news release said.

However, according to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report, “SNAP fraud is relatively rare, according to available data and reports.”

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Congress prepares for 'reticent' witness Robert Mueller

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Facing pointed questions about a hot-button government investigation in June 2013, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller didn't budge.

"I'm not going to speculate," he flatly told Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, when pressed on the details of a probe into an Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal.

On Wednesday, Mueller will return to Capitol Hill to face questions about his investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Lawmakers and aides, including many with experience questioning Mueller, don't expect him to be any more forthcoming.

"He is a reticent witness even under the best of circumstances," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said at the Aspen Security Forum, held in Colorado last week.

"[Mueller] never gives a 10-word answer when a one word answer will do," one senior Democratic aide said. "He does not volunteer information."

While they may downplay Mueller's expected testimony, for months Democrats have depicted the former special counsel as the star witness of their investigations into President Donald Trump's actions. As the Trump administration has resisted their subpoenas for documents and witness testimony, Mueller -- they have said -- could help "tell the story" of the 448-page report that most Americans haven't read.

"We hope it won't end up being a dud," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday on Fox News. "We're going to ask specific questions about -- 'look at page 344 paragraph 2, please read it. Does that describe obstruction of justice, and did you -- did you find that the president did that?' for example."

Mueller is set to testify for three hours before the House Judiciary Committee and two hours before the House Intelligence Committee in back-to-back sessions. The first hearing will focus on Volume II, the potential episodes of obstruction of justice investigated by the special counsel. The second hearing will focus on Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller's investigation found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but did not determine whether Trump obstructed justice, nor did the report "exonerate" the president.

Breaking his silence about the 22-month investigation in May, Mueller attempted to set expectations for any appearances on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers wrangled with his team behind the scenes to secure his testimony.
"The report is my testimony," Mueller said. "I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress."

Some Democrats believe that even with his reticence to testify beyond the nature of his report, Mueller's words could help them distill the significance of Trump's actions.

"Russia attacked, Trump welcomed it, and Trump covered it up," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, told ABC News. "If this comes across as a 'Law and Order' episode, rather than giving people a Ph.D. in Russian studies, that is a success."

The hearing could also be a defining moment in the intraparty impeachment debate.

While more than 90 House Democrats now support launching impeachment proceedings against Trump, many Democrats -- including moderate members of the freshman class -- have said they'd wait to hear from Mueller before weighing in on impeachment.

"Mr. Mueller would be, would be part of that beginning to let the American people hear directly from witnesses about the conduct of the president and at the end of that make a judgment as to whether or not we ought to file articles of impeachment," Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said on ABC News' podcast "The Investigation."

Republicans to elevate concerns about Russia probe, Trump's innocence

Republicans, including some of the president's closest allies, plan to use Mueller's appearance to highlight the fact that Mueller's team found no evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the election.

"What we're expecting is another round of what we already know," said Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, on Fox News. "It's like going back and finding a book on the shelf that looks new, and then all of a sudden you begin to read it and you find out, wait, I already read this before."

Republicans could also use the platform to elevate their concerns that Trump was inappropriately targeted by the FBI and the Justice Department.

"We have to do more than just question Robert Mueller," Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a committee member and often fervent Trump supporter, told Fox News on Monday. "We have to expose the bias investigation that was run and we also have to expose the substantial omissions in the Mueller report."

They have repeatedly cited texts between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former lawyer Lisa Page -- who exchanged messages as they were having an extramarital affair -- as evidence that the origins of the investigation and decision-making by the FBI in the 2016 election was politically tainted.

The Justice Department inspector general concluded that the FBI's actions in 2016 were not politically-motivated, but that Page and Strzok's actions, among others, damaged the FBI's reputation.

Trump and Republicans, including members of the House Intelligence Committee, could raise questions about the FBI's use of the Steele dossier -- a series of uncorroborated allegations against Trump prepared by a former British intelligence official -- in their efforts to obtain a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Republicans say the warrant was improperly obtained, while former Justice Department officials have defended their actions.

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Joe Biden fights youth incarceration in new criminal justice plan

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden rolled out his criminal justice plan Tuesday, as the front-runner has come under fire for his past record from 2020 Democratic opponents.

The plan focuses on preventing crime, eliminating racial disparities and providing second chances for those who have had contact with the criminal justice system.

Biden joins fellow presidential hopefuls Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and others in releasing criminal justice plans.

Biden, like Booker, Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., calls for the end of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes -- including some put in place by bills passed while Biden served as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary committee.

The Biden plan calls for treatment for those who suffer from addiction rather than incarceration, increase federal funding for drug courts, and an elimination of the disparity in how crack users and cocaine users are charged and sentenced -- also enacted while Biden served on the Judiciary Committee.

Biden has expressed regret over supporting the past policy, calling it a "mistake" earlier this year, and saying while he hasn't always gotten it right, he's always tried.

"It was a big mistake when it was made. We thought, we were told by the experts, that, 'Crack, you never go back.' That it was somehow fundamentally different -- it is not different. But it has trapped an entire generation," Biden said in remarks during a National Action Committee Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in January.

On marijuana, Biden -- like many other candidates -- will decriminalize the drug. The former vice president will also automatically expunge records for those who have been convicted of marijuana-related offenses. But unlike some of his presidential opponents, he does not call for the federal legalization of the drug, but rather for it to be made a schedule II drug so more research can be done on its effects.

Biden's plan calls for an end to private prisons, cash bail and the death penalty, and would expand the Justice Department's purview to address police and prosecutor misconduct. It would also institute an independent task force to tackle discrimination as well.

One unique feature of Biden's plan is the large emphasis on juvenile criminal justice reform -- investing $1 billion annually to keep minors from being placed in adult prisons and expand funding for after-school programs, community centers and summer jobs.

The Biden plan would provide $20 billion in grants for states that find methods to reduce crime and incarceration, citing a proposal from the Brennan Center. That plan would be paid for by "the saving incurred by reducing incarcerations" over 10 years, according to the campaign.

The former vice president will also set a goal of ensuring 100% of formerly incarcerated individuals will have housing upon release by directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to only contract with entities that are open to housing individuals who are looking for a second chance.

Biden's record on criminal justice has been criticized by some of his 2020 Democratic challengers, largely because of Biden's pivotal role in getting the 1994 crime bill passed while Senate Judiciary chairman.

Booker said the bill "put mass incarceration on steroids."

"Why did it take him so long to apologize? I'm stunned," Booker said at a Washington Post Live event July 18.

"It is a horrific bill that has led to the reality right now that is indefensible, where we have more African Americans under criminal supervision in America than all the slaves in 1850," Booker continued.

"We need a nominee in the Democratic Party that understands the crime bill was a mistake," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told ABC News in May.

Biden has disputed the idea that the crime bill created mass incarceration, saying at a stop on the campaign trail in Nashua, New Hampshire, on May 14: "Folks, let's get something straight. ... This idea that the crime bill generated mass incarceration, it did not generate mass incarceration."

Still, senior Biden campaign officials say the former vice president expects attacks from his opponents on his record.

"He knows that a number of people are going to try to weaponize his services in Congress against him, and I know some people in this race would like to believe he never served as the vice president to President Obama. But he's proud of his record," one official said. "As he noted he didn't always get everything right. And I think this plan is a true reflection of what he believes."

Racial inequality has become a major focus of the 2020 race, with several candidates unveiling their plans to address disparities in the fight for African American voters.

Buttigieg, who has struggled to win the support of minority voters, released his Douglass Plan, which would intend to decrease the incarceration rate at both the state and federal level by 50%, and eliminate incarcerations for drug possession or a failure to pay legal fees, while retroactively reducing sentences for other drug offenses.

Booker has made criminal justice a core policy of his campaign after he co-sponsored the "First Step Act" in 2018.

After launching his 2020 run, Booker announced a follow up bill that would let federal prisoners who have served more than 10 years in prison petition a court for early release. The Matthew Charles and William Underwood Second Look Act would also create a "presumption of release" for inmates 50 and older unless the government can prove the inmate would be a threat to society.

Biden is not the only 2020 candidate to come under fire for their past record with criminal justice. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has also received criticism for her past work as a prosecutor and California's attorney general -- especially for her campaign against truancy as district attorney. Some have criticized the policy as an attempt to criminalize parents whose children missed more than 30 days of schools.

But Harris has been critical about the high incarceration rates in the United States.

Biden first unveiled some of his criminal justice reform proposals in late June at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention.

"Instead of teaching people how to be better criminals in prison, we should be educating people in prison, It's in our interest to do so," said Biden. "Automatic restoration of rights once your sentence is served, meaning not only you can vote, but you're qualified for every program including Pell grants to go on, get your education. It makes no sense. Look folks, we have to unite this country."

The policy rollout comes ahead of Biden's appearances at the NAACP Convention in Detroit, the National Urban League Conference in Indianapolis and the second Democratic presidential debate.

Biden will face off with Booker and Harris on the second Debate night, but a senior Biden campaign official downplayed the suggestion that the timing of this policy release had anything to do with the upcoming debate. The official noted Biden would talk about several policies he's released over the last month.

"There are real differences in this race between Vice President Biden and a number of the people on that stage and you can expect him to draw that contrast next Wednesday," one offical said.

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Kamala Harris pushes new bill to decriminalize marijuana nationwide

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris is teaming up with House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., on a comprehensive marijuana reform bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge prior marijuana-based convictions and fight against discrimination for those who possess or use it.

"Times have changed -- marijuana should not be a crime," said Harris, D-Calif. "We need to start regulating marijuana, and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives."

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act announced Tuesday morning would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thereby decriminalizing marijuana for previous and pending convictions. States could then set their own marijuana policies, similar to what's currently in place for alcohol.

The bill would also require resentencing for prior marijuana-based convictions.

The policy is a 180-degree turn from Harris' past positions on marijuana. When Harris was California's attorney general from 2011 to 2017, tens of thousands of Californians were arrested yearly for marijuana infractions, according to a 2016 Drug Policy Alliance report.

For months, she's also expressed being in favor of legalizing marijuana: a position she laughed at just five years ago when asked about it during a local TV interview in Sacramento, California.

While she's yet to propose legalizing marijuana, she said in an interview with The Breakfast Club in February she would do so as president.

"There are a lot of reasons why we need to legalize," Harris started saying, before being asked if she had ever smoked weed herself.

"Yes," she said. "It was a long time ago."

"Listen, I think it gives a lot of people joy, and we need more joy," she added, to laughs.

Harris and Nadler's bill would also put in place discrimination protections, including prohibiting landlords from denying federal housing related to tenant marijuana use or possession, and prevent immigration authorities from being able to use marijuana possession/use to target people.

The bill would also authorize Congress to use half of the yearly tax revenue from the marijuana industry to reinvest in communities impacted by the war on drugs, small businesses in the marijuana industry controlled by low-income individuals and make marijuana licensing easier for those negatively affected by marijuana criminalization.

"As marijuana becomes legal across the country, we must make sure everyone -- especially communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs -- has a real opportunity to participate in this growing industry," Harris said.

With Nadler on her side, a Harris aide said the bill is expected to be taken up for a vote.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Key questions Mueller could face when he testifies this week

drnadig/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Lawmakers will get the chance to question one of Washington’s most elusive figures on Wednesday after House Democrats triumphed in requiring former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify in public before two congressional committees.

But after landing the notoriously reserved former FBI director -- whose only public comments since launching the probe lasted just nine minutes -- what do lawmakers hope to accomplish?

Democrats want Americans -- many of whom have not read his report -- to hear Mueller describe his investigation, including the evidence he gathered regarding possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Specifically, did Mueller punt to Congress because Justice Department policy precludes prosecuting a president in office?

How he answers could prove key to making the case that impeachment is justified if Democrats choose to pursue that route. Republicans, on the other hand, hope to undermine Mueller's probe in defense of the president.

For his part, Mueller has signaled his intention to “not go beyond our report” in any remarks before Congress, fearing he could get dragged into a political slugfest. But last month, upon announcing Mueller's planned appearance, Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that while Mueller remains “deeply reluctant” to testify, “Congress has questions that go beyond the report.”

“We have questions about the counterintelligence investigation and the role of the agents within his team, to questions about some of the prosecutorial decisions that were made. We have fact questions about some of the statements that were made in the report,” Schiff said. “So there are any number of issues that we wish to cover with him.”

Beyond trying to get him to clarify key passages in his 448-page report, Democrats hope that seeing and hearing the strait-laced Mueller on live television may draw the public’s attention back to the Russia investigation, which plagued the White House for more than two years.

“If [Mueller] says what was in the report -- and says it to the American people so they hear it -- that will be very, very important,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has said. “That will be important itself. Whether he goes farther than that, we'll see.”

Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, put a finer point on Democrats’ intentions.

“You can't expect the American people to want to read 400 pages of that document,” Speier said. “They are more likely to listen to Bob Mueller, who has shown he has powerful gravitas.”

That powerful image Democrats hope to conjure could help hammer home the special counsel's findings, bring to life a report that most Americans haven't read and bolster public support for a possible impeachment inquiry.

More than 90 House Democrats -- roughly one-third of their caucus -- now support pursuing impeachment proceedings, even as the public’s desire lags behind. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken after the Mueller report was released, 56% of Americans opposed impeachment.

Democrats have thus far struggled to bring witnesses to Capitol Hill, having to rely on court battles for victories against a White House whose penchant to keep current and foreign administration officials from testifying has stalled Democrats’ probes. Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal attorney, said last month that “there are no legal moves that are being made” by the White House to block Mueller’s testimony.

Regardless of Democrats’ intentions, Mueller’s testimony could produce some compelling TV moments Wednesday between the taciturn former special counsel and committee members.

But staking so much on Mueller's appearance, Democrats risk falling flat -- and Republicans hope to capitalize on the opportunity.

“It is going to backfire on the Democrats,” Rep. Mark Meadows, a top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, predicted after Mueller's testimony was announced. “Bob Mueller better be prepared, because I can tell you -- he will be cross-examined for the first time, and the American people will start see the flaws in his performance.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the president’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, predicted that Mueller’s testimony “will blow up in their face,” referring to Democrats, adding that “the conclusions can't change.”

One potential subject for Republicans’ questions could be Mueller's team of prosecutors -- long a subject of Trump’s ire and whom he frequently refers to as “angry Democrats.”

Meadows said inquiries about the political backgrounds of special counsel prosecutors remain “a legitimate question.”

On Monday, Trump lashed out at the former special counsel on Twitter.

"Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple," Trump wrote. "In the end it will be bad for him and the phony Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Top House Democrat says Mueller testimony will be 'deadly serious'

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- As some Democrats ratchet up expectations for special counsel Robert Mueller’s upcoming appearance on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, one top House Democrat is setting the stage for a hearing that is less show-stopping and more sobering.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., told ABC News that he does not expect Mueller to reveal new details in regards to his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Instead, he expects Mueller to recount the report’s conclusions of potential misconduct by President Donald Trump to a public audience -- many of whom he believes will be learning of these allegations for the first time, he said.

"It's not going to be exciting but I think it's deadly serious," Cicilline told ABC News in an interview with "The Investigation" podcast. "The reason I say it's sober is because these are very serious allegations, this is very serious misconduct, and for most people it will be, really, the first time they hear about the contents of the report."


Mueller's 448-page report was publicly released on April 18, but Cicilline said that because most Americans haven’t read it, they will be surprised when they watch Mueller testify about the content of his report.

Mueller himself said during a press conference in May in his first and only public statement since the conclusion of the investigation, that the report is his testimony and that he wouldn’t provide information beyond its contents in a congressional hearing.

Cicilline said that for most Americans, that would still make for a “very disturbing” testimony.

Cicilline is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, one of two committees whose members will have a chance to ask the special counsel questions on Wednesday. He said his committee would be focusing its questioning on parts of the report that outline conduct by the president that could potentially be considered obstruction of justice.

"I think most of us will avoid questions which ask him to speculate because he's not going to do that," Cicilline said. "He's going to limit his testimony to what is in the report, but as I've said, that is damning and significant and serious."

In his report, Mueller outlined 11 potential actions by the president that were investigated as possible cases of obstruction. His team declined to make a prosecutorial recommendation on whether the president had obstructed justice citing an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that states that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

Congress is now zeroing in on these potential instances of obstruction and Cicilline said his committee plans to focus on five actions in particular, including reports that Trump directed former White House Counsel Don McGhan to have Mueller fired before instructing McGahn to lie to investigators and rebuff reports that he had been told to fire Mueller in a written memo.

Also of interest to Cicilline: allegations that the president instructed his former aide, Corey Lewandowski, to tell former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of Mueller's investigation to only election interference.

This evidence pertaining to obstruction of justice is what Cicilline said prompted him to become one of the first members of the House of Representatives to call for an impeachment inquiry against the president. The congressman has continued to lead the charge in favor of impeachment inquiries.

However, Cicilline and other House Democrats who are in favor of impeachment inquiries face opposition -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has publicly said she is against impeaching Trump. There is also a lack of majority support from the 553 members of the House, of which only 90 members so far support impeachment inquiries, according to ABC News’ count.

Cicilline said impeachment should not be a political calculation, but instead, a means by which Congress can hold the president accountable after Mueller determined he could not indict.

"Our founders created this vehicle so we could hold the president accountable. Mr. Mueller makes clear that Congress is really the only place where a president could be held accountable," Cicilline said. "Unless we're prepared to say that the president is above the law, and I don't think we are, then people expect us to do our job and hold him accountable."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump calls AOC and 'The Squad' a 'very racist group of troublemakers'

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Monday escalated his criticism of the so-called “Squad” -- four progressive congressional Democrats the president has rhetorically battled for more than a week -- calling the freshmen lawmakers “a very racist group of troublemakers” as he worked to defend himself against charges that he is racist.

While traveling in the presidential motorcade from the White House to the Supreme Court to pay respects to the late Justice John Paul Stevens late Monday morning, Trump fired off a tweet minutes before he and first lady Melania Trump arrived for a memorial service.

After Trump returned to the White House, "The Squad" -- Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley -- continued to attract the president’s wrath during an afternoon event in the Oval Office alongside the prime minister of Pakistan.

“I think they're really bad for our country. They must hate our country,” Trump told reporters as Imran Khan listened. “I think they're very bad for our country. I think they're very bad for the Democrat Party. I think you see that, and they're pulling the Democrats way left."

“Nobody knows how to handle them. I feel they're easy to handle,” Trump continued. “To me they're easy to handle because they're just out there. They're very bad for our country, absolutely.”

In a series of tweets earlier this month, Trump first criticized the progressive Democratic congresswomen for what he characterized as "horrible and disgusting actions," telling them to stop criticizing the government and "go back" to where they came from.

At a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, last Wednesday, Trump did not intervene but just stood on stage for 13 seconds as supporters chanted, “send her back,” targeting Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen who fled Somalia as a refugee in her youth. The president has sent mixed signals on his reaction to the chants, both saying it did not make him happy while also praising his supporters.

After a Louisiana police officer suggested Ocasio-Cortez “needs a round – and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” AOC, as she’s known on Capitol Hill, blamed the president for the implicit threat on her life.

"The Squad" has gained notoriety in Washington -- and a massive following nationally -- after taking office in the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

Tlaib, who gained national attention after she pledged to “impeach the mother------" a day after she was sworn into office, reaffirmed her commitment in remarks at the NAACP’s annual convention in Detroit.

“I’m not going nowhere!” Tlaib, D-Mich., said. “Not until I impeach this president.”

During his daily tweetstorm, Trump on Monday denied a weekend report The Washington Post that White House advisers had crafted new talking points and compiled new opposition research on the four congresswomen.

“Now really, does that sound like me?” Trump tweeted. “It is a made up story meant to demean & belittle. The Post had no sources. The facts remain the same, that we have 4 Radical Left Congresswomen who have said very bad things about Israel & our Country!”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump announces budget deal reached with Congress

rarrarorro/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald J. Trump announced late Monday that he and congressional leaders had reached a deal on a two-year budget and the debt ceiling

"I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy -- on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills," Trump tweeted, calling the deal "a real compromise."

The White House and congressional leaders had for weeks negotiated over raising the limit on federal borrowing and setting budget cap numbers.

 In a joint statement, Pelosi and Schumer confirmed the deal, suspending the debt limit until after the next presidential inauguration, July 31, 2021, while claiming Democrats "have achieved an agreement that permanently ends the threat of the sequester."

"We are pleased that the Administration has finally agreed to join Democrats in ending these devastating cuts, which have threatened our investments to keep America Number One in the global economy and to ensure our national security," Pelosi and Schumer stated. "With this agreement, we strive to avoid another government shutdown, which is so harmful to meeting the needs of the American people and honoring the work of our public employees."

With all "four corners" of Capitol Hill pledging their support to the president, the bill is likely to pass.

After insisting on parity in any spending increases for defense and non-defense spending throughout the negotiations, the duo noted that Democrats "secured robust funding" for domestic spending and "are pleased that our increase in non-defense budget authority exceeds the defense number by $10 billion over the next two years."

"It also means Democrats secured an increase of more than $100 billion in funding for domestic priorities since President Trump took office," the Democrat leaders wrote. "After a long negotiation, we have only agreed upon offsets that were part of an earlier bipartisan agreement.

Schumer and Pelosi signaled a vote could occur before the end of the week, when Congress begins its six-week summer recess.

"The House will now move swiftly to bring the budget caps and debt ceiling agreement legislation to the Floor, so that it can be sent to the President’s desk as soon as possible," Pelosi and Schumer wrote. "With this agreement, we can avoid the damage of sequestration and continue to advance progress for the people."

In a tweet, McConnell wrote, "I am glad the administration and Speaker Pelosi have reached a two-year funding agreement that secures the resources we need to continue rebuilding our armed forces. The next step is for the House and the Senate to pass this agreement so that President Trump can sign it into law."

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey said the agreement would provide "the largest-ever increase in base funding above sequestration levels."

"With the more reasonable budget caps in this agreement, we will be able to undertake an orderly appropriations process and invest For the People -- in priorities like education, health care, infrastructure, the environment, and tackling the climate crisis," Lowey, D-N.Y., stated.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Louisiana police officer fired after allegedly suggesting AOC should be shot in Facebook post

Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- A Louisiana police officer who reportedly posted on Facebook that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a "vile idiot" who "needs a round" has been fired.

Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson announced the termination of officer Charles Rispoli during a press conference on Monday, four days after he wrote the incriminating post.

"This vile idiot needs a round," officer Charlie Rispoli allegedly wrote on Facebook Thursday. "And I don’t mean the kind she used to serve."

Another officer, Angelo Varisco, was also fired for liking the post, Lawson said.

A screenshot of the comments was obtained by, which reports on the greater New Orleans area. The website said the reported post and the officer's Facebook page have been taken down.

Rispoli was apparently responding to an article titled "Ocasio-Cortez on the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much,’" posted by a website which describes itself as " network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery."

Lawson said the department was made aware of the post on Friday after it got several calls from members of the media as well as the community, prompting officials to "immediately" open an internal investigation and place Rispoli on unpaid administrative leave.

Rispoli and Varisco were both terminated on Monday morning, Lawson said, describing their behavior as "completely irresponsible and intolerable."

"Both of these officers we consider violated our policies regarding social media. We have a zero-tolerance policy," Lawson said. "This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department."

Rispoli was hired by the department in April 2005 and worked as a court bailiff before he transferred to the home incarceration program, where he would supervise individuals placed on house arrest by the court, Lawson said.

Varisco, who worked in security at City Hall and in the courts, was hired by the department in November 2016, Lawson said.

Each officer only conducted two arrests, each of which stemmed from inside the courtroom with defendants who were on trial, Lawson said.

Although Lawson said Rispoli's alleged post eluded to a violent act, he doesn't believe Rispoli was actually trying to incite violence against Ocasio-Cortez, describing the officer as "mild-mannered" and "not controversial."

"That's the part that's certainly disheartening," he said. "Do I think that this individual meant any violence? No. I don't think that was the case."

Lawson said Rispoli told him that he realized "very quickly that he shouldn't have done it and took it down."

In addition, Rispoli made the comments while he was undergoing additional training for policies and procedures on diversity and social media, Lawson said.

"With all those efforts, something like this still happens," he said. "It's very disturbing. It shows a lack of the officer's paying attention to what's going in the world around him."

The police department has contacted Facebook to investigate whether any other employees were involved.

Neither Varisco nor Rispoli have responded to ABC News' requests for comment. Ocasio-Cortez has not responded to the reported posting, either.

Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., worked as a bartender before she got elected.

She is part of a group of freshman Democrats known as "The Squad" who have been on the receiving end of online attacks and were told by President Donald Trump to "go back where you came from" on Twitter. They have also been some of his strongest critics in Congress.

The four lawmakers, Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., were subject to another Facebook attack on Friday by the Republican County Chairmen’s Association of Illinois, which posted and then deleted a mimic movie poster depicting them as "The Jihad Squad." This is one of the latest attempts to characterize this group of Congresswomen as being un-American.

Mark Shaw, the president of the Republican political organization, apologized on Sunday for the post saying that it was not authorized by him to be posted.

"This unauthorized posting is an unfortunate distraction from the serious debate surrounding the policies advocated by these four socialist members of the United States House of Representatives of which I strongly disagree," Shaw posted on Facebook.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump concedes he may watch Mueller testimony, but just 'a little bit'

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After denying he would watch former special counsel Robert Mueller's congressional testimony this week, President Donald Trump on Monday conceded he'd "maybe" tune in and "see a little bit of it."

"No, I'm not going to be watching," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Monday, before adding, "Probably, maybe I'll see a little bit of it. I'm not going to be watching Mueller because you can't take all those bites out of the apple."

Mueller is scheduled to testify before two congressional committees for five and a half hours. Television networks are planning special, live coverage, and Trump had said Friday he did not plan to watch.

In a tweet earlier Monday, Trump accused Democrats on Capitol Hill of wasting time on "this ridiculous Witch Hunt."

 Trump often claims the report found "no collusion" and "no obstruction," but Mueller did not, in fact reach a conclusion on obstruction. And while the investigation did not find sufficient evidence to establish if there was a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, it did detail several "offers of assistance to the [Trump] campaign" by the Russian government.

Democrats have pushed Mueller to testify since he released his report in April. Members of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees are scheduled to question him starting Wednesday morning lasting into the afternoon, but acknowledge the hearing might not produce the blockbuster results they hope it will.

"We hope it won't end up being a dud and we're going to ask specific questions," Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told "Fox News Sunday." "We're going to ask specific questions about look at page 344 paragraph two, please read it, does that describe obstruction of justice and did you -- did you find that the president did that, for example."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS' "Face the Nation" that most Americans "haven't had the opportunity to read that report--and it's a pretty dry, prosecutorial work product.

"We want Bob Mueller to bring it to life, to talk about what's in that report," he said. "It's a pretty damning set of facts."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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