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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly before the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees pursuant to a subpoena on July 17, Chairmen Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday evening. The testimonies will be "back to back," but separate, according to Schiff.

Why it matters: Mueller previously said he preferred not to testify and that his 400-page report would function as his testimony. After weeks of negotiations between the former special counsel's team and House Democrats, a subpoena is what ultimately broke the deadlock.

“Pursuant to subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence tonight, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has agreed to testify before both Committees on July 17 in open session. 
“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates' obstruction of the investigation into that attack.
“We look forward to hearing his testimony, as do all Americans.”
— Chairmen Nadler and Schiff

What he's saying: Though not explicitly a response to the announcement, President Trump tweeted after the news was announced, "Presidential Harassment!"

The big picture: Mueller's public testimony has long been the white whale for Democratic leaders who have staved off calls to impeach Trump until they can further "educate the public" on the contents of the special counsel's report. Public readings of the report and expert testimony have failed to garner the same attention that a high-profile hearing with one of the most mysterious figures of the last two years of the Trump presidency undoubtedly will.

Flashback: On May 29, Mueller gave his first and only public statement since his appointment in 2017. Here's what he said regarding any potential testimony:

There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself.
The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.

The bottom line: Mueller's testimony will not be a bombshell for anyone who has read his report.

  • But hearing him answer questions in a televised setting about the explosive details of the Trump campaign's willingness to accept Russian help, as well as a verbal recounting of the president's alleged obstruction of justice, could have a tremendous effect on public opinion.
  • It's also likely to infuriate Trump.

This article has been updated to include Trump's tweet and Schiff's comments on Mueller's reluctance to testify.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.