Hostile witness or Democrats’ hero? Mueller’s past turns before Congress offer important clues

Behind the square jaw, deadeye stare and Marine Corps growl, former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III does have a soft spot when it comes to answering tough questions in congressional hearings. On Wednesday, when he delivers long-awaited testimony about his investigation into President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election, Democrats are hoping to coax from him the kind of dramatic moments that could galvanize public opinion against the president. Republicans, meanwhile, are eager to elicit testimony that shows the investigation was biased from its inception. Those who know him best are skeptical he will meet either side’s expectations. (Wash. Post)

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Emerging budget deal likely to include few or no actual spending cuts, while lifting debt limit for two years

White House and congressional negotiators rushing to hammer out the final details of a sweeping budget and debt deal are unlikely to include many — if any — actual spending cuts, even as the debt limit is lifted for two years, people familiar with the talks said. The agreement appeared likely to mark a retreat for White House officials who had demanded major spending cuts in exchange for a new budget deal. But the process remained in limbo while negotiators awaited final approval late Sunday from President Trump. The pending deal would seek to extend the debt ceiling and set new spending levels for two years, ratcheting back the budget brinkmanship that led to a record-long government shutdown earlier this year. (Wash. Post)

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Pimlico improvement plans delayed after racing commission cancels meeting

The Maryland Racing Commission has canceled its July meeting — a meeting where the owners of the Pimlico Race Course were supposed to present an updated capital improvements plan for the aging track. Michael Hopkins, executive director for the commission, said the July 25 meeting was canceled because many people will be away on vacation. The commission's next meeting will be Aug. 16 at Ocean Downs just outside of Ocean City in Southern Maryland. The abrupt cancellation of the July meeting means observers and advocates who had been looking forward to hearing about the Stronach Group's and Maryland Jockey Club's plans for racetrack improvements at Pimlico will have to wait a little while longer. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Its giant downtown headquarters is mostly out of view, but Kamala Harris campaign says it picked Baltimore for a reason

Its playfully decorated, cavernous national headquarters in downtown Baltimore is mostly out of public view, but the Kamala Harris presidential campaign says it picked the city for a reason. In Baltimore, the Democratic U.S. senator and her campaign chairwoman and sister, Maya Harris, found a city that feels like the Oakland, California, area, where they are from. “It is like a sister city,” said Maya Harris, interviewed last week at the expansive headquarters encompassing a carpeted upper floor of an office tower with a sweeping view of downtown, the Inner Harbor and beyond. Still largely empty, the space is beginning to take on a whimsical character. “FEARLESS” is written on one wall in oversized purple lettering. (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan proposes more toll reductions

Some motorists in Maryland could see toll relief under a series of proposals announced by Gov. Larry Hogan. Hogan made the announcement Friday in a 75-second video release that appeared to have been recorded and produced earlier in the week. The announcement marks the third time Hogan had rolled out toll reduction proposals since taking office in 2015. Hogan said the new proposal would reduce tolls by an additional $28 million over five years. Kelly Melhem, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority said “several variables, including traffic volumes, project schedules and E-ZPass penetration rates, could affect the actual amount one way or the other.” (Daily Record)

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At Silver Spring Event, Ocasio-Cortez Vows to Fight Racism

As U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) spoke at a Democratic rally in Silver Spring Thursday night, she began by indirectly referring to the fact that President Donald Trump has targeted her on Twitter lately. “It’s been kind of a crazy week hasn’t it,” she said. Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman congresswoman, joined Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), whose office hosted a rally aimed at garnering support for Democrats Thursday. The rally was also aimed at supporting the Maryland congressman’s Summer Democracy fellowship  — a program for high school and college students to become involved in politics. Attendees could enter for free with a ticket, but had the option of donating to the fellowship program. (Bethesda)

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Elrich To Officially Name Chapman To Be Next Police Chief

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will officially name Tonya Chapman as his nominee to be the next police chief. Chapman’s nomination will go to the Montgomery County Council for a possible confirmation in September. Elrich told Bethesda Beat Thursday night that Chapman, formerly the chief of the Portsmouth, Virginia, police department, is his lone remaining candidate and that the nomination would be sent to the council for approval. A majority vote on the nine-member council is required for confirmation. “We’re going to have discussions and she’s going to be meeting council members,” he said. Chapman has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years, serving with the Arlington and Richmond, Virginia, police departments.  (Bethesda)

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Elrich To Announce Countywide Executive Order Addressing Immigration Raids

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is planning to announce an executive order Monday that will ensure no county official asks people about their immigration status. Elrich’s office said Friday that he will sign an executive order that stops any collaboration between federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and the Montgomery County Police Department. The order also will extend beyond the police department to ensure that no official of any county agency may ask about a person’s immigration status.  In a press release, Elrich’s office said the executive order will “reaffirm current county policy” of not assisting ICE officials and ensure that “immigrant and otherwise vulnerable communities” (Bethesda) 

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