Just how important are next few days in DC? Well, this "could be one of the most momentous weeks" in the remainder of President Trump's term, one "that could set the tone for the rest of his first term," according to Politico's Playbook blog. The big-ticket item comes Wednesday when Robert Mueller is scheduled to testify for five hours in nationally televised congressional hearings. But also of crucial importance are ongoing negotiations over a budget deal in the final days before the August recess. Details:
- The stakes: In a Mueller preview, NPR notes the political stakes for both parties. Democrats hope viewers will be treated to an anti-Trump narrative that might raise support for impeachment, while Republicans will get a chance to "tar and feather" Mueller and belittle what they've depicted as the "hoax" inquiry.
- Strategies: "Remember, the Mueller report is a one-sided report," said GOP Rep. Doug Collins, per the AP. "It has not been questioned from the other side. This is our chance to do that." Republicans will likely focus on the origins of the Russia investigation and perceived FBI bias. Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, on the other hand, says Mueller's report shows Trump is guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and it's time for Mueller himself to lay out those facts. Democrats will focus on specifics such as Trump's instructions to former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. (McGahn refused.)