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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

UN chief urges U.S. and China to fix "dysfunctional relationship"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a Sept. 13 press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / Coffini/AFP via Getty Images

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres raised concerns in an interview with AP, published Monday, of another Cold War between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Guterres made the comments ahead of this week's UN General Assembly in New York. Guterres told AP the U.S.-U.K. deal to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia "is just one small piece of a more complex puzzle ... this completely dysfunctional relationship between China and the United States."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

FBI says human remains found in Wyoming likely Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito. Photo: FBI

Human remains found in Teton County, Wyoming, are "consistent with the description of" missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, FBI Denver official Charles Jones said at a news conference Sunday.

Details: The cause of death had yet to be determined, but Jones said: "Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery." Authorities said they're continuing the search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

Dems' immigration plan hits major roadblock

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Sunday that Democrats cannot include pathways to citizenship in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, per a copy of the ruling obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's a blow to Democrats who hoped to provide pathways for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Using reconciliations would have allowed them to pass politically contentious immigration changes with only 50 votes, as opposed to the usual 60 required.