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Congress prepares for 'reticent' witness Robert Mueller

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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

Boris Johnson chosen to replace Theresa May as UK prime minister

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ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) — Boris Johnson has been chosen as the new leader of the Conservative Party, and will take over as prime minister from Theresa May when she resigns on Wednesday. Johnson was always the favorite to win the race, and in the end convincingly beat his rival Jeremy Hunt in the ballot of 160,000 Conservative Party members. As the Conservative Party remains the largest party in the House of Commons, Johnson will become prime minister without having been elected by the general public. May will take questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday, before meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation. In the end, Brexit proved to be May’s downfall. The Brexit deal she spent the best part of two years negotiating with European Union leaders was voted down three times in the Houses of Parliament, forcing her to request an extension until October. The delays proved to be deeply unpopular with Brexit-supporting members of her own party. May announced her resignation on May 24, triggering the Conservative Party election from which Johnson, one

Joe Biden fights youth incarceration in new criminal justice plan

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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

Kamala Harris pushes new bill to decriminalize marijuana nationwide

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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,

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

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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.” [ READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF CICILLINE’S INTERVIEW ON “THE INVESTIGATION” ]

New blackout takes Venezuelans by surprise

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Carolina Cabral/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images(CARACAS, Venezuela) — Citizens on the streets of Venezuela’s capital city scrambled to find transportation home as a new blackout surprised the country Tuesday. While different states have suffered from blackouts over the past few months, this is the first one to affect the entire country since March. The streets of the capital city of Caracas were complete chaos as people rushed to get home before it got dark and phone service completely collapsed in one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Buses were out of room for people who were desperately trying to get to their houses after the subway closed due to the lack of power. The government was quick to announce it was a new attack, with communications minister Jorge Rodríguez calling the event an “electromagnetic attack” aimed at the main provider of power in the country. Embattled president Nicolas Maduro tweeted in Spanish, “With the new criminal attack against the peace of the country, the Bolivarian Government and the armed forces are deployed to meet the needs of the

Prince Harry teams up with Dr. Jane Goodall to empower kids to help save the planet

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Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images(LONDON) — Prince Harry shared his passion for the environment and conservation with young people from around the world Tuesday at an event with Dr. Jane Goodall, the legendary animal and environmental conservationist. Harry and Goodall met at St. George’s House at Windsor Castle, where Goodall is holding a global leadership meeting for the Roots & Shoots organization she founded in 1991. Harry is scheduled to deliver an address to attendees and meet with Roots & Shoots students who were selected to travel to Windsor to share their projects and discuss the issues affecting their fellow young people and communities. Roots & Shoots is focused on empowering young people to make a difference in the environment. Goodall started the organization with just 12 students in Tanzania and it is now supported around the globe by over 700,000 participants who range in age from preschool to college, according to its website. Roots & Shoots helps students get involved in environmental work by offering one-click campaigns on its website and giving students instructions on how to design

Taxi driver jumps into out-of-control car, slams brakes, video shows

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petekarici/iStock(NEW YORK) — Authorities in China are praising a taxi driver who sprang into action to stop a runaway car that was rolling through traffic. Hu Wengang told state broadcaster CCTV he was sitting at a stoplight in central China’s Hubei province when he heard someone calling for help. Then he saw a vehicle go sliding down the hill with nobody at the wheel — and passengers, including two children, still inside. Wengang didn’t hesitate. In surveillance video, he can be seen jumping out of his cab and sprinting toward the out-of-control vehicle. “The car was running faster and faster. I could barely catch up with it,” Wengang said. “When I nearly overtook the car, I held the door and the wheel all at once, jumped inside the car and pulled it up.” Chinese police say the vehicle lost control after the driver failed to fully engage the parking brake. If not for Wengang, authorities said, the situation could have ended up much worse. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump announces budget deal reached with Congress

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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

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

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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