Mueller will testify publicly — Former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify to Congress in open session next month about his investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, in a late-night announcement Tuesday, said that “pursuant to a subpoena” Mueller has agreed to appear before both panels July 17. The session comes as nearly 80 House Democrats have called for launching impeachment proceedings against Trump, arguing that he has ignored the Constitution that he took an oath to defend while repeatedly refusing to cooperate with congressional investigations. Trump has dismissed Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.” The news comes as Democrats grappled with whether to subpoena Mueller, who was reluctant to testify in public. They believed he had a duty to the public to answer questions about the report, but how far they were willing to go to force him into the witness chair was another matter.
Illinois is 11th pot-legal state — Illinois’ new governor delivered on a top campaign promise Tuesday by signing legislation making the state the 11th to approve marijuana for recreational use in a program offering legal remedies and economic benefits to minorities whose lives critics say were damaged by a wayward war on drugs. Legalization in Illinois also means that nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged, a provision minority lawmakers and interest groups demanded. It also gives cannabis-vendor preference to minority owners and promises 25% of tax revenue from marijuana sales to redevelop impoverished communities.
Census question case — The battle over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census was thrown into further doubt Tuesday, just as the Supreme Court was expected to issue a ruling on the dispute this week. By allowing a district judge to reopen a case related to the origin of the question, a federal appeals court raised the prospect that the federal government might be unable to meet a deadline for completing census questionnaires that include it, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling. New hearings in the reopened case would stretch well beyond July 1, which is the deadline for printing the questionnaire and other forms.
First lady’s spokeswoman is new press secretary — Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, will replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders as White House press secretary, continuing the ascent of a former campaign aide who established herself as a loyal defender of the Trump family. Grisham will also take on the added role of communications director, a job that has been vacant since the departure of Bill Shine in March, and will keep her role in the East Wing. Melania Trump made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter. Grisham’s appointment — to a three-in-one role that will include managing overall communications strategy, daily relations with the media and incoming requests for the East Wing — crystallizes how much the nature of those jobs have changed under Donald Trump.
Iran calls U.S. ‘mentally handicapped’ — President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that any attack Iran might carry out “on anything American” would result in the “obliteration” of parts of Iran, responding angrily to comments by President Hassan Rouhani that the White House was “mentally handicapped.” The president’s comments stood in contrast to the message delivered Tuesday by other administration officials, who reiterated that the United States wanted to negotiate. But Rouhani said Tuesday the new sanctions Trump ordered this week against Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other senior officials had made it impossible to enter into any talks.
Israel, Russia and U.S. talk security — Hosting an extraordinary meeting Tuesday of the Russian, U.S. and Israeli national security advisers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pressed for ridding Syria of all foreign forces, in particular Iranians and their proxies across Israel’s northern frontier. With Syria’s civil war winding down, Netanyahu said, “I believe that there is a wider basis for cooperation between the three of us than many believe.” The meeting took place against the backdrop of spiraling tensions between the U.S. and Iran after Iran’s downing last week of a surveillance drone and Iran’s threats to exceed the limits on its uranium supply set by the 2015 nuclear deal.
Judge halts treatments at stem cell clinic — A federal judge Tuesday issued a permanent injunction against U.S. Stem Cell, a Sunrise, Florida, clinic accused of blinding three patients by injecting a fat extract into their eyes. The company is just one of hundreds of businesses that have sprung up around the country offering to treat a wide array of illnesses with products they say contain stem cells that have healing and regenerative properties. Medical experts say there is no proof that such treatments work. Many of those clinics, like U.S. Stem Cell, use extracts from fat. Others use patients’ own bone marrow, and some use cord blood or other birth tissue like amniotic membranes.
Longtime oil leak is far worse — A new federal study has found that an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that began more than 14 years ago has been releasing as much as 4,500 gallons a day, not 3 or 4 gallons a day as the rig owner has claimed. The leak, about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast, began in 2004 when a Taylor Energy Co. oil platform sank during Hurricane Ivan and a bundle of undersea pipes ruptured. Oil and gas have been seeping from the site ever since. Taylor Energy, which sold its assets in 2008, is fighting a federal order to stop the leak.