Good Thursday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.
• In his first public characterization of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III again declined to clear President Trump of obstruction of justice. He also noted that while Justice Department policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime, the Constitution provides another way to formally accuse wrongdoing — a clear reference to impeachment. Read more on Mr. Mueller’s statements here, and a full transcript here.
• The special counsel’s carefully chosen phrases stood in sharp contrast to Attorney General William P. Barr’s portrayal of the investigation as vindicating Mr. Trump. But Mr. Mueller left many things unsaid.
• Mr. Mueller’s public appearance proved more challenging for Democrats than for Mr. Trump: It divided them between those running for president, who quickly called for impeachment as they court the party’s liberal base, and those running in the House, who see political peril in the “i-word.”
• Resisting Mr. Trump’s entreaties, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is dragging out consideration of an updated North American trade deal, putting off a vote at least until the fall.
• Beto O’Rourke released a broad immigration plan that would end Trump administration policies like family separation, travel bans and increased detentions and deportations. It also seeks a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants.
• Jaime Harrison, the first black chairman of South Carolina’s Democratic Party, announced a bid to unseat Senator Lindsey Graham. He sat down with The Times to talk about the race.
• The national Democratic Party will toughen the requirements for participating in the presidential primary debates this fall. For debate No. 3, in mid-September, candidates must have donations from 130,000 people and register at least 2 percent in four polls.
• Shane Cusick started his small business, Pello, in 2014 with the goal of making lightweight bikes for children. His experience over the past year is a case study in how a trade war can disrupt a fledgling enterprise.
• Mr. Trump is publicly making the case that Roy Moore, the controversial former Alabama judge, could cost Republicans a Senate seat if he chooses to run again. One person he hasn’t convinced is Mr. Moore himself.
Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Isabella Grullón Paz in New York.
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