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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Former special counsel Robert Mueller will make his much-hyped appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday, but neither party expects to learn anything new from Mueller's 5-plus hours of public testimony, according to conversations with more than a dozen members of Congress and staffers involved in the hearing preparations.

The bottom line: Each party sees the hearings as a political opportunity — whether it be Democrats trying to stoke support for impeachment or Republicans seeking to sow distrust in the Justice Department's Russia investigation.

What to expect: The House Intelligence Committee will focus on Volume 1: Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, while the House Judiciary Committee will focus on Volume 2: possible instances of obstruction of justice by President Trump.

Democratic members on the committees, who have been thirsting for months to have Mueller testify publicly, told Axios they see the hearing as an opportunity for Mueller to educate the American public on the most damaging aspects of his report.

  • "The success will be in the TV ratings," Rep. Ro Khanna, who will not be questioning Mueller, said. "The more Americans that watch, the more successful it is."
  • "Most Americans haven't had a chance to read a 400-page report," House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff told Axios. "This will be the first time they hear from the man who did the investigation himself, not filtered through the misrepresentations of [Attorney General] Bill Barr or anybody else."
  • "My fantasy is when I get my five minutes, I'm just going to have him read certain excerpts from his report. And I think that will be very powerful," said Rep. Jackie Speier, a member of the Intel committee.

Why it matters: Roughly 90 Democrats publicly support impeaching Trump, and some lawmakers think that once Mueller opens his mouth, the percentage of Americans who support impeachment will spike.

The other side: GOP committee aides and key members —including Reps. Andy Biggs and Jim Jordan, both members of the Judiciary committee — told Axios that Republicans' biggest goal is pinpointing when Mueller knew there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and why he didn't let the public know sooner that the president wasn't a Manchurian candidate. (Mueller's report didn't establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.)

  • Republicans plan to question Mueller on the origins and integrity of his investigation. And they'll grill him about the anti-Trump sentiments of some FBI agents, specifically Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and why some texts on their work phones weren't preserved. (Note: The Justice Department's inspector general report found that their political biases did not compromise the FBI's work.)
  • One Republican committee aide said they'll also ask Mueller to identify who wrote the report, and how much of it was written by Andrew Weismann, a top prosecutor on Mueller's team who the aide called "a Clinton guy." (Weismann attended Hillary Clinton's election night party in 2016.)

"Republicans have been prepping for this hearing for weeks," said a GOP source familiar with the preparation, adding that some lawmakers have "spent more time on this than they have on anything else."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker
10 hours ago - Sports

Novak Djokovic loses Australian visa appeal

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening, facing a three-year visa ban after an appeals court in the country revoked his visa.

Driving the news: Djokovic will not be able to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts in Melbourne. The World No. 1 is looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.