Robert Mueller testimony, Boris Johnson takes over as Britain PM: 5 things to know Wednesday

Robert Mueller appears before Congress

The former special counsel who led an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election will be delivering his long-awaited public testimony to the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday. Robert Mueller’s investigation documented a “sweeping and systematic” effort by Moscow aimed in part at helping Donald Trump win the presidency, and a Trump campaign that welcomed the assistance. Investigators found insufficient evidence of a conspiracy between the two, but the political implications of that report have led to Republicans claiming it cleared Trump of wrongdoing and Democrats claiming it showed clear Russian influence and presidential efforts at obstruction. Mueller’s only public comments on the case came in late May when he reaffirmed the findings in his final report. Monday, the Justice Department warned that Mueller’s testimony should not stray from the written conclusions outlined in the 448-page final report of the two-year investigation. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday that charging President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice was "not an option."

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Boris Johnson steps into role as new UK prime minister

Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, officially takes office on Wednesday, a day after winning of the Conservative Party’s runoff election. The American-born Johnson, 55, who enjoys a good relationship with President Donald Trump, will have to lead the country through its stalled exit from the European Union, known as Brexit – a seemingly impossible task that brought down Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May. Johnson also faces an escalating crisis with Iran. May will tender her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday; Johnson will take office following his own audience with the monarch.

Boris Johnson succeeds Theresa May as Britain's new prime minister.

USDA rule which would cut food stamp benefits for millions gets published

A U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that could affect as many as 3.1 million recipients is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday for public comment. Under the proposed rule, the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would no longer provide benefits to families solely because they are enrolled in food assistance programs run by the states where they live. The Trump administration said the rule was designed to eliminate “loopholes” and save money, but was immediately assailed by anti-poverty advocates including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who called the proposal an “act of staggering callousness.” Agency officials said the proposal could save billions in taxpayer funds. Recipients who lose their benefits could reapply and qualify if they met the federal standards for assistance. 

Flying pioneer Amelia Earhart was born 122 years ago

Wednesday, celebrated as Amelia Earhart Day, marks 122 years to the day since the female flying pioneer was born. Earhart famously  sent her last radio call on July 2, 1937 during an attempt to fly around the world. Now July 24 is celebrated as Amelia Earhart Day. After her disappearance, an extensive search effort came up empty-handed. As a result, conspiracy theories have cropped up about Earhart’s true fate, involving everything from alien abduction to capture by the Japanese. Read a primer on the top theories surrounding Earhart’s disappearance to learn more.

Summer Olympics countdown is on!

The Opening Ceremony for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is one year from today. The Summer Games return to the capital of Japan for the first time since 1964; the country last saw Olympic activity in the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano. The XXXII Olympiad brings a number of new sports, including karate, skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing. Additionally, baseball and softball return to the Games for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

With under a year to go, we look ahead to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Sandy Hooper, USA TODAY

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