Updated Apr 25, 2019

Attorney General Barr to testify before Congress on May 1 and 2

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1 and House Judiciary Committee on May 2 to testify about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, both panels have confirmed.

Why it matters: Democrats have accused Barr, the nation's top law enforcement official, of playing defense for President Trump by spinning Mueller's conclusions in a favorable light 3 weeks before the public was able to view a redacted version of the special counsel's report. Barr also made the controversial decision of clearing Trump of obstruction of justice, despite Mueller explicitly deciding not to.

  • Democrats have argued that it was not Barr's decision to make, and that Mueller — who acknowledged in his report that he could not indict a sitting president — was outlining a roadmap for Congress to impeach Trump by carefully documenting 10 episodes of potential obstruction.

Watch to watch: The House Judiciary Committee has formally requested that Mueller himself testify before May 23, after Democrats voiced concern that Barr has not an impartial narrator for the investigation. Mueller has not shown any indication of whether he plans to do so.

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World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

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Wisconsin may be the start of the 2020 election wars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wisconsin voters braving lines in face masks — after a last-minute Supreme Court ruling against extending the absentee deadline — could foreshadow a nationwide legal struggle over how to conduct elections during the coronavirus outbreak, election experts say.

Why it matters: "It's a harbinger of what's to come in the next skirmishes in the voting wars" from now through November, Richard Hasen, a professor and national election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told Axios.

New Zealand sets sights on coronavirus elimination after 2 weeks of lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives a coronavirus media update at the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

AUCKLAND -- New Zealand has flattened the curve of novel coronavirus cases after two weeks of lockdown and the next phase is to "squash it," Professor Shaun Hendy, who heads a scientific body advising the government on COVID-19, told Axios.

Why it matters: The country imposed 14 days ago some of the toughest restrictions in the world in response to the pandemic, despite confirming only 102 cases and no deaths at the time.