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Mueller to testify, a photo spotlights the border crisis & the first Democratic debate: The Morning Rundown

The House passed a $4.5 billion funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.
Image: Military police wearing the insignia of the new National Guard detain migrants from Guatemala to keep them from crossing the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas
Military police detain migrants from Guatemala to keep them from crossing the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas, on Monday. Christian Chavez / AP

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Robert Mueller will testify, a distressing photo highlights the border crisis and it's prime-time for Democrats with the first presidential primary debate on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo tonight.

Here's what we're watching today.

Reluctant witness: Mueller agrees to testify

The former special counsel has agreed to publicly testify about his two-year Russia investigation at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee on July 17.

When Mueller spoke publicly for the first time about the Russia investigation in late May, he made it clear that he did not want to testify before Congress. “I hope and expect that this is the only time that I will speak to you in this manner,” he said then.

"The work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony," he said referring to the 448-page redacted report released in April.

What changed his mind? Democrats' subpoena power.

House passes border aid funding bill amid outcry

The House passed a $4.5 billion supplemental border funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border as reports of children living in squalor at border stations continues to provoke outrage.

A Customs and Border Protection official said the agency was not running low on supplies after reports that people looking to make donations of soap, diapers and food for the children being held in reportedly “appalling” conditions at a Texas border station were turned away.

The acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders announced he was stepping down from his post in the wake of the reports.

And the shocking photograph of a father and daughter found dead along the banks of the Rio Grande is putting a spotlight on the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty, and hoping for asylum in the United States.

How candidates are preparing for the first debate: pushups, videos, brevity

They have to introduce themselves to the country, contrast themselves with the other candidates, make the case for why they should be the next leader of the free world and not make any embarrassing mistakes — all in 10 minutes or less.

Here's a look at how the 10 candidates participating in tonight's Democratic debate, hosted by NBC, have prepped for their turn in the spotlight.

The first Democratic debate — a two-night event — is hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo and will air live across all three networks starting at 9 p.m. ET.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News; Getty Images; AP; Reuters

In South Bend, racial inequality has long been a 'festering problem' that 'didn't start with Pete'

The public outrage over a fatal police shooting in South Bend, Indiana, has threatened to overshadow the presidential ambitions of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who faced shout-downs, heckling and profanity at a town hall over the weekend.

But in interviews across the small, close-knit Midwestern city this week, most locals offered more muted and even-handed criticism of their two-term mayor. Some even applauded the 37-year-old for taking a break from the campaign trail to focus on the crisis back home.

The disconnect between the black community and the local government "has been a festering problem in the greater South Bend area for more than 50 years," said KaRon Kirkland, 62, who was born and raised in this city. "It didn't start with Pete."

The small Midwestern city of South Bend, Indiana, was thrust into the national spotlight after the fatal police shooting of Eric Jack Logan.Carlos Javier Ortiz / for NBC News

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  • Ahead of the G-20 summit, Trump's chief of protocol has been pulled off the job amid a harassment probe.

THINK about it

The Democratic debates are a minefield. I couldn't be more excited to watch the explosions, political strategist Matt Gorman writes in an opinion piece.


You won't believe the remote jobs that now exist with salaries topping $100,000.

A civic honor

President Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia on Tuesday, the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the recognition.

Bellavia was honored for his actions in the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War, the Second Battle of Fallujah, which also happened to be his 29th birthday.

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Thanks, Petra