Wednesday morning news: July 24, 2019

Mueller set to testify to House panels » Special counsel Robert Mueller will testify today on Capitol Hill. He’ll answer questions from lawmakers on the House Judiciary and Intelligence panels. 

The Justice Department addressed a letter to Mueller ahead of his appearance—advising him to limit his remarks to what he already stated in his Russia report.

Attorney General William Barr said Mueller’s team requested that advice. 

BARR: Well as you know in his press conference Bob had said he intended to stick with the public report and not go beyond that. And in conversations with the department his staff was reiterating that was their position, and they asked us for guidance in writing. 

Mueller initially said he did not intend to testify because he would have nothing to add to what he stated in the Russia report. But he agreed to appear after House Democrats subpoenaed him to testify.  

Democrats are hoping for more information to bolster an obstruction of justice case against President Trump. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. He declined to answer specific questions about Mueller’s Russia report. He said it speaks for itself. 

WRAY: And I really want to be careful not to be trying add my own gloss or layering on top of that, especially with special counsel Mueller testifying tomorrow. 

Wray also would not provide details about the two investigations into the origins of the Russia probe.

DOJ opening antitrust probe of big tech » The Department of Justice says it is opening a sweeping antitrust probe of big technology companies. It will investigate whether their online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation, or harmed consumers.

The DOJ did not name specific companies in the statement announcing the probe. But it said the review will consider the widespread concerns about search, social media, and some retail services online.

The news comes as a growing number of lawmakers have called for stricter regulation or even breaking up the big tech companies. Some have drawn intense scrutiny after a series of scandals that compromised users’ privacy.

New British prime minister assumes office » The UK has a new prime minister. Pro-Brexit lawmaker Boris Johnson assumes office in a handover ceremony today. 

He won the race to replace Theresa May as prime minister and as leader of the Conservative Party. 

JOHNSON: We are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward. I thank you all very much for the incredible honor that you have just done me. I will work flat out from now on with my team that I will build, I hope in the next few days, to repay your confidence. But in the meantime, the campaign is over and the work begins. 

Johnson won 66 percent of the party vote, soundly beating Jeremy Hunt, who won 34 percent. 

The 55-year-old has vowed to deliver Brexit to the British people. And he said the country will leave the European Union by the October 31st deadline, with or without a divorce deal.

South Korean air force fires warning shots at Russian aircraft » South Korean air force jets fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian aircraft on Tuesday. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has details. 

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Officials in Seoul said the plane violated the country’s airspace when it flew over a disputed island off the coast of South Korea and Japan. 

The Russian Defense Ministry denied its planes violated any country’s airspace. But the Japanese Ministry of Defense supported South Korea’s report saying it scrambled fighters to intercept the planes. 

Japan protested to Russia for violating the airspace but it also said firing warning shots was “absolutely unacceptable.”

South Korea warned Russia that it will take—quote—“much stronger” measures if a similar incident occurs in the future. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg. 

Esper confirmed as secretary of defense » It took seven months, but President Trump finally has a Senate-confirmed secretary of defense. 

AUDIO: The yeas are 90, the nays are 8. The nomination is confirmed. 

Just hours after that vote, Army veteran Mark Esper took the oath of office. That ended the longest period the Pentagon has gone without a confirmed leader in its history. 

The upheaval at the Pentagon began at the end of last year when James Mattis stepped down over a series of policy disputes with the president. Patrick Shanahan served as acting defense secretary for nearly six months. 

The Senate still hasn’t confirmed a deputy secretary of defense. But President Trump’s nominee for the role, David Norquist, is scheduled to begin his confirmation hearing today.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file) In this June 19, 2013, file photo, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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One comment on “Wednesday morning news: July 24, 2019

  1. Shari Ziegler says:

    Enjoyed the broadcast today. Mindy asked why our U.S. policy is different with N. Korea than with Iran. She didn’t mention that Iran’s avowed purpose has always been to destroy Israel (and America). I don’t know if N. Korea has ever been so outspoken.

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