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ABC News(MONTPELIER, Vermont) -- On a sunny day on the Burlington, Vermont, lakeshore in 2015, an independent U.S. senator with a relatively low national profile shocked the political establishment by turning out a boisterous crowd of thousands as he kicked-off his unlikely presidential campaign.

Now, almost exactly four years later and 40 miles down the road, in the shadow of the statehouse, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. – today a political powerhouse with millions of ardent followers who has become the preeminent driving force of the Democratic Party's recent progressive transformation – returned home on Saturday for the first Vermont rally of his 2020 campaign.

'Pathological liar'

In an animated, barnstorming speech, Sanders came out swinging, calling President Donald Trump a "pathological liar" who was driving the nation towards authoritarian rule.

In a sweeping broadside against the current administration, Sanders said he was launching his campaign “with confidence, optimism and love” and said that he refused to allow for the nation to be led by "greed, hatred and lies.”

“The underlying principles of our government will not be racism, will not be sexism, will not be xenophobia and will not be religious bigotry – and all the other mean-spirited beliefs of the Trump administration," the senator said, adding, "The principles of our government will be based on justice: economic justice, racial justice, social justice, and environmental justice.”

"Sadly, we have a president who is a pathological liar and that he says whatever he wants without regard to the truth," Sanders continued. "You know that we have a president who has no understanding or respect for the Constitution of the United States, and the separation of powers, and his attempting to move -- every single day -- this country into an authoritarian form of government.

The veteran Vermont politician was met with rousing applause when he spoke forcefully of protecting abortion rights, an issue on which all of the Democratic candidates have been united in recent weeks after several red states, including Alabama and Georgia, passed some of the most restrictive abortion laws in U.S. history.

“In Vermont, we understand that women have a constitutional right to control their own bodies,” Sanders insisted. “It is not politicians in the U.S. Congress or the state or the local governments that will control a women’s body,” he continued, his voice rising. “It is the women of this country themselves that control their bodies."

'He is who he says he is'

Sanders' journey from his isolated perch in Congress' upper chamber to his current position as a Democratic presidential primary frontrunner is a long story of backlash against the Washington, D.C. political establishment and an ideological shift that has moved the party closer-than-ever toward his long-held Democratic socialist beliefs. But also one that is less of a surprise to his constituents, some of whom who have supported the senator and his impassioned, independent streak for nearly four decades, ranging back to his eight years as Burlington's mayor.

To that point, a crowd of thousands, similar to his 2015 launch event, flooded this town – America's smallest state capital by population – to welcome Sanders home Saturday, three months into a second presidential campaign that has found him consistently occupying a top-tier position in polls, as he runs on issues remarkably unchanged from four years ago. Such consistency was a point of emphasis for attendees Saturday in explaining their support.

"He's been doing this his whole life... he hasn't changed his platform," said Danielle Bradtmiller, a law student from nearby Killington. "I think that because he's been saying the same thing consistently for years, it adds a lot of weight to his platform now, and it shows he is who he says he is."

Joann Vana, a retired educator from northern Vermont who has lived in the region for 42 years and watched Sanders' rise into national prominence, echoed the feeling.

"Bernie has always supported the people of Vermont," she said. "And having been in the education system for 35 years, we're proud that he was, and is, supportive of students, and education, and teachers and values that we hold."

On May 26, 2015, Sanders' home state rally was something of a national introduction, despite a tenure, to that point, of 16 years in the House of Representatives and eight in the Senate. Though the senator announced his run that year at a non-descript Capitol Hill news conference a month prior, in Vermont, before a much wider audience, he would touch on the key issues that have come to define both of his presidential campaigns. He recounted many of those points Saturday, noting with satisfaction that they are no longer considered controversial within the Democratic Party.

"Raising the minimum wage to a living wage: not so radical today. Guaranteeing health care at all as a human right: not so radical today. Creating up to 15 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure: not so radical today. Legalizing marijuana: a radical idea four years ago; not so radical today," Sanders listed, as his supporters joined him in a call-and-response. "And by the way, those ideas that we talked about four years ago, that seemed so extreme at the time. Well today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by a majority of the American people, and have overwhelming support from Democrats and independents. And they are ideas that Democratic candidates from school board to president on our supporting."

'Perpetual warfare'

While the senator also discussed economic inequality on Saturday -- at one point railing against Walmart and its founding Walton family, one of the nation's richest families, ahead of a trip next week to speak on behalf of its workers at its annual shareholders meeting -- and touched on other major issues of recent focus, like education and health care, he was also forceful in his defense of his foreign affairs record, ranging back to his days protesting against the Vietnam War, up to his current stance on the U.S.'s tensions with Iran.

"Right now, this minute, I am doing everything that I can -- working, by the way, with some honest conservatives in the Senate -- to prevent Donald Trump and John Bolton from taking us into a war in Iran," he said. A war which would be, in my view, much more destructive, if you can believe it, than the war in Iraq, and could lead us, literally, to perpetual warfare in that region."

On Friday, Sanders' campaign released a video highlighting his years leading Burlington, including his razor-thin margin of victory in his first mayoral race in 1981 (Sanders won by 10 votes), and the efforts he undertook in transforming Vermont's largest city, including rehabilitating the Lake Champlain waterfront, increasing access to affordable housing and supporting the local business community.

Saturday's event in Montpelier was the start of a busy holiday weekend in New England for Sanders who heads to neighboring New Hampshire for events through Tuesday. On Memorial Day Monday, he'll host ice cream socials with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenberg of Ben & Jerry's in Warner, Laconia and Rollinsford, before attending two town halls, in Concord and Londonderry, and a rally in Manchester on Tuesday.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Amid roiling trade tensions, the crowded 2020 Democratic candidate field now finds itself divided on a path forward on the tricky terrain of American trade – a path made all the more difficult by President Donald Trump's protectionist stance and hardline tone on getting "fair deals" for the U.S.

Democrats staking out more trade-friendly views contrast themselves with the Trump administration’s hard-line; some have assumed the attack stance that isolationist trade policies hurt farmers rather than achieve fairer deals. It’s a tricky tap dance for Democrats seeking to contrast themselves with President Trump yet not alienate key Rust Belt or progressive grassroots voting blocks.

The growing interparty divide on trade could set the stage for the first Democratic debate next month, as progressive leaning candidates hope to set themselves apart from their centrist rivals in hopes of winning blue-collar voting blocks in the 2020 election.

There are those who have spoken strongly for free trade: former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado recently released his plan proposing more cooperation and to “re-energize trade with the world.”

During his first foreign policy address at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Monday, the centrist presidential contender criticized Republicans and his fellow Democrats for limiting U.S. trade.

“Today politicians in both parties are pushing to restrict America’s trading opportunities," Hickenlooper said. "Mr. Trump launched tariff wars. Protectionists on the left seek to block new trade agreements. This belligerence toward trade is self-destructive. It undermines our diplomatic leverage. At a time when 95% of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, we cannot have economic growth, economic justice, or full security without expanding trade. We need open and fair trade, so our people can benefit from trade rather than hide from it,” he added.

Hickenlooper told George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that backing away from open trade impacts the U.S. economy and national security.

“Almost all the other Democrats, not all, but many of the other Democrats feel that we should back away from fair and open trade,” Hickenlooper said on "This Week." Only through "constant engagement and building up that trade are we going to get to full security. And I think as we revive U.S. leadership, we’re able to not only make our country safer but as I said, we’re going to be able to be more prosperous at the same time."

 Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, like a number of 2020 candidates has focused on rural crop communities on his several trips to early voting states such as Iowa. They've positioned themselves as fighting for farmers where Trump’s tariffs have hurt the agricultural community.

In an op-ed on CNN timed with his Tuesday town hall, O'Rourke said President Trump's tariffs lead America's trading partners to turn elsewhere – leaving farmers holding the bag.

"People are hurting with this biblical-strength flooding," Geoff Burgan, O'Rourke's Iowa communications director, told ABC News. "Farmers out here have regularly told [O'Rourke] ‘We want trade, not aid.’ And the future of rural America is something you can't get away from."

O’Rourke’s recently unveiled climate proposal – a sweeping $5 trillion plan – specifically folds in initiatives focused on Midwestern agricultural communities - agenda items like expanding federal crop insurance and investing in flood infrastructure.

Others, such as former Vice President Joe Biden find themselves himself in a complicated position on trade.

Biden voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and permanent normal trade relations with China. He and O’Rourke also supported former President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a sweeping multinational trade proposal that included Pacific Rim nations, which a number of unions opposed out of concerns about labor protections and that it would cost the U.S. jobs.

Some rival 2020 campaigns have hammered Biden on this perceived vulnerability.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who opposed NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, attacked Biden’s voting record on trade, attempting to draw a sharp contrast between himself and his front-running presidential opponent.

“Joe voted for NAFTA and permanent trade relations, trade agreements with China. I led the effort against that. Joe voted for the deregulation of Wall Street, I voted against that," Sanders told White House Chief Correspondent Jonathan Karl during an interview on "This Week" in Des Moines, Iowa earlier this month.

It’s not the first time Sanders has spoken out strongly on trade; he has vigorously opposed policies like NAFTA from its inception, calling out his 2016 primary opponent Hillary Clinton for her support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“I was on the picket line in opposition to NAFTA,” Sanders said during the New Hampshire primary debate during the last election. “We heard people tell us how many jobs would be created. I didn't believe that for a second.”

For those on the front lines weathering the storm of trade wars and climate change alike, farmers at the center of the conflict will scrutinize candidates’ positions and past voting record closely for who will prioritize their interests.

Biden recently defending his vote on NAFTA, telling the Associated Press he supported not free trade, but fair trade. "I think that back in the time during the Clinton administration, it made sense at the moment," the former vice president said.

Candidates like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., join Sanders in being long-time skeptics of free trade.

She vehemently opposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling it “a rigged process” producing “a rigged outcome” for 40 percent of the U.S. economy, urging Congress in 2015 to reject the trade plan “tilt the playing field even more in favor of big multinational corporations and against working families.”

She opposed the United States Mexico Canada Trade agreement (USMCA), Trump’s renegotiated trade deal with Mexico and Canada, calling it “NAFTA 2.0” and voting against the plan in 2018. Stumping in Iowa, her speech has fiercely denounced big agro, calling for the breakup of industry mergers, charging “consolidation is choking family farms.”

For those on the front lines weathering the storm of trade wars and climate change alike, the price of tea in China and hundreds of other items is front and center this election cycle. Farmers feeling tariffs’ sting, and surging Davenport, Iowa floodwaters will scrutinize candidates’ positions and past voting record closely for who will prioritize their interests.

As things stand, farmers who spoke with ABC News expressed frustration.

"When we take China off the table for a demand for our products, we suddenly have a huge amount of supply and the price collapses," Matt Russell, a fifth-generation farmer in Iowa, who owns a 110-acre farm of produce, heirloom tomatoes and grass-fed beef told ABC News' Senior Washington Reporter, Devin Dwyer. "The biggest thing is the loss of trade. That's the big story."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A non-stop parade of presidential contenders have already made dozens of trips to the early-nominating states, and this weekend, a number of them are poised to continue crisscrossing Iowa and New Hampshire, celebrating Memorial Day with some of the first voters of the 2020 race.

Throughout the weekend, a slate of candidates are stopping in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.

In New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Maryland., former Gov. Bill Weld, R-Alaska and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont., are meeting with voters on Friday, Sunday and Monday.

Despite the apolitical nature of the holiday, the candidates are hitting the stump on Monday to pitch some of the most coveted voters in between Memorial Day events, according to their campaigns. Booker is set to host a Memorial Day barbecue in Polk County, and Warren is planning to hold a town hall in Des Moines County.

Sanders is holding a series of Ben & Jerry ice cream socials throughout the afternoon in Merrimack, Belknap and Strafford counties; Swalwell heads to Grafton and Carroll counties for meet-and-greets; Delaney joins a Memorial Day parade and a VFW barbecue in Sullivan County before heading to Rockingham County for a Memorial Day wreath laying; and Weld, who will also be in Rockingham County, will attend a Memorial Day parade and a gathering to honor a Vietnam veteran.

As one of the earliest candidates to announce a bid for the White House, Delaney has made eight stops to Iowa in 2019 as of May 9, according to the Iowa Starting Line. He’s topped the list, standing ahead of Klobuchar, Swalwell and Warren, who have made six trips, followed by former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and best-selling author Marianne Williamson with five.

The holiday weekend comes six months after dozens of veterans emerged victorious on election night. In last year's midterm elections, 118 veteran candidates launched bids for Congress, and 79 won in November, according to an ABC News analysis of 2018 midterm election results.

This cohort of veteran members, some elected for the first time as part of a camouflage-tinted "pink wave," were bolstered by service-focused outside groups that seek to draft more veterans to Capitol Hill, like Serve America PAC, which was started by Iraq War veteran-turned-congressman-turned-White House hopeful Seth Moulton.

Nearly a year before the 2018 midterms, the DCCC expected 30 or 40 of its candidates to be veterans, a major uptick from recent cycles. At that time, only four female veterans served in Congress, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Gabbard, and Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

This cycle, three candidates with backgrounds in the military are vying for the top of the Democratic ticket in the 2020 presidential contest.

In 2009 and 2013, Buttigieg was commissioned as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer during his mayoral tenure – opting to take a leave of absence to serve in Afghanistan in 2014 for a seven-month deployment. He earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work.

Buttigieg is expected to be in his hometown for South Bend’s Memorial Day parade, according to his campaign.

When asked what Memorial Day means to him, he said, "Personally, what I think about is the people I served with who did not make it home. And as one of those who fortunately did make it home, I think a lot about how I can try to live a life that is worthy of the sacrifices of people from the folks I was down range with to people generations and even centuries before me. All of whom paid the ultimate price in order to make the life and the security that we know here in America possible.”

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was commissioned as a second lieutenant and is the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone when she volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers in 2004 while in the Hawaii Army National Guard, according to her official website.

Gabbard said some politicians exploit the real meaning of the holiday.

“So nothing angers me more than the hypocrisy exhibited every Memorial Day by warmongering politicians and media pundits feigning sympathy for those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country, while simultaneously advocating for more counterproductive regime change wars and the new Cold War and arms race," she said. "The true way to honor our troops who have sacrificed their lives for our country is to work to prevent unnecessary costly wars, which will result in the death of more of my brothers and sisters in uniform.

"Memorial Day is a time to remember that war should only be waged as a very last resort to keep the American people safe,” she added.

Moulton is a former Marine who served four combat tours in Iraq. The Massachusetts Democrat is also embarking next week on a "Veterans Mental Health Tour," which will feature a slew of town halls focused on veterans mental health, across several early-voting states.

Earlier this week, Moulton recorded a video remembering his friend and fellow Marine James Hassell, whom the congressman called his "hero" after he carried a gravely-wounded member of their platoon out of a building under attack.

"James was still troubled by the wounds of war in the form of post-traumatic stress," Moulton said in the video, to be released by VoteVets. "He went to the VA, but rather than give him the counseling resources he wanted, they just gave him drugs. So many medicines that James died of a heart attack at the age of 30. It's a good reminder that the wounds of war sometimes follow us home and although James didn't die that day in combat, he died from the wounds sustained from that day. So we're thinking of you James."

Since the historic wave of female candidates landed in Congress, bringing a crest of veterans with them, a re-energized effort to engage more veterans in politics at all levels of government is underway.

A group of freshman female lawmakers who served in the military or worked in federal intelligence agencies are bringing their political muscle to recruit more women service leaders to run for office.

Congresswomen Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, Chrissy Houlahan, Mikie Sherrill, and Elissa Slotkin launched a new group, the Service First Women’s Victory Fund, to fundraise, host speaking events and policy discussions to elevate the profiles of a new class of female Democratic candidates with national security backgrounds. The group will also create a series of policy forums to "help elevate the profiles of those already in office."

The groups aim to change the makeup of Congress and usher in more "servant leadership" into the political landscape in 2020.

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iStock/Toshe_O(WASHINGTON) -- Ahead of the Memorial Day recess, and nearly halfway through the year, Congress has only passed 17 laws.

Major laws that the 116th Congress has passed include reopening the government following the shutdown, a bipartisan public lands measure and changes to Medicaid.

Some of the other laws passed changed the address of a post office in Charlottesville, Virginia, created an award for classified school employees like security officers and cafeteria workers, and clarified the grade and pay of podiatrists in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

One measure appointed retired Army Capt. and former Senator Bob Dole to the rank of colonel, and another named a Utah Department of Veterans’ Affairs outstation in honor of Major Brent Taylor.

Politico Playbook first reported the tally of measures passed.

This isn't the first time a divided Congress has passed fewer measures at this point in the year.

From January to late May 2013, when Republicans controlled the House and Democrats the Senate, congressional lawmakers passed 11 laws. Similarly, from January through May in 2011, a Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate passed 16 laws, according to congressional records.

This comes amid President Donald Trump's clashes with Democratic congressional leaders. Trump tweeted Thursday that Democrats “are getting nothing done in Congress.”

“All of their effort is about a Re-Do of the Mueller Report, which didn’t turn out the way they wanted. It is not possible for them to investigate and legislate at the same time,” Trump wrote, echoing his remarks after a meeting on infrastructure fell apart Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shot back Thursday.

“He should look at all the bills the House passed and how many of them McConnell has put on the floor," the New York senator said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "The answer is none because McConnell has made the Senate a graveyard.”

 So far this year, more than 100 bills have passed the House but have not made it through the Senate or onto the president’s desk, including a voters’ rights bill, a climate bill, and the Equality Act, sweeping legislation that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace, housing, service and public accommodations.

Approximately 20 bills have passed in the Senate and have not yet made it through the House, including the recently passed bill to stop robocalls.

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ABC News(TOKYO) -- President Donald Trump sought to soothe concerns from the Japanese business community over dinner on Saturday night, as the U.S. trade war with China has rocked the region and the U.S. tries to hammer out a trade deal with Japan.

"The relationship with Japan and the United States, I can say for a fact, has never been stronger. It's never been more powerful, never been closer," Trump said. "This is a very exciting time for commerce between the two countries that we both love."

Guests at the dinner at the U.S. Ambassador's Residence included top executives from Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, whose companies are concerned about the president potentially crippling their industry by slapping steep tariffs on the Japanese autos.

Last week, the president was faced with a deadline to impose tariffs on Japanese automobiles, citing national security concerns. Instead, the president pushed the deadline back while trade negotiations continue.

The U.S. has already imposed tariffs on Japanese aluminum and steel.

While White House and Japanese officials have tried to downplay the potential for any big announcement of a bilateral trade deal on this trip, the president previewed some of the progress he hopes to make while in Tokyo.

Trump said the new deal will "address the trade imbalance."

"The United States and Japan are hard at work negotiating a bilateral trade agreement which will benefit both of our countries. I will say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years," Trump said. "But that's OK. Maybe that's why you like us so much. But we'll get it a little bit more fair."

The United States currently has a $67.6 billion trade deficit with Japan.

The president said he hopes the deal will "ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship."

"We're getting closer," Trump said. "We welcome your support in these efforts and we hope to have several further announcements soon and some very big ones over the next few months."

The president and first lady Melania Trump, wearing a white printed dress, were greeted at the airport by Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty and other members of the US and Japanese diplomatic corps at about 4 p.m. local time.

Just hours before the president landed, an earthquake of magnitude 5.1 shook the city of Tokyo. The epicenter of the earthquake was west of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture, an area near where Trump and Abe are expected to golf on Sunday, according to The Associated Press. There were no reports of significant damage.

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iStock/Torsakarin(TOKYO) -- President Donald Trump landed in Japan on Saturday, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to treat Trump to lavish dinners, a golf outing, a sumo wrestling tournament and be honored as the first state leader to meet the new emperor since his enthronement.

But while it might seem like a Memorial Day weekend trip full of fun and games for the president, Tokyo hopes that by rolling out the red carpet, they will get one step closer to a favorable trade deal and strengthen security ties to the U.S. during a time of tension and uncertainty in the region.

“Prime Minister Abe, you’ll remember, was the first world leader to meet with President Trump. And now, President Trump is going to be the first world leader to meet with the new emperor,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of the visit. “So they’ll have plenty of substance to discuss and some things to announce as well.”

The high-profile diplomatic visit comes as Abe is hoping to put his best foot forward with the United States ahead of an election in Japan, and the city of Osaka will be hosting the G-20 with leaders from around the world.

“I don’t think there's going to be any major breakthrough, we're not going to see a trade deal come out of this and we aren't going to see any major developments,” Shihoko Goto, a Japan expert at the Wilson Center, said of Trump's Tokyo trip. “This is a highly symbolic diplomatic engagement, but it's an important one so Japan is seen as a reliable partner.”

Here are the five things you need to know about the president’s trip.

Golf with Abe

Since Trump entered office, Abe has emerged as one of his closest allies not only in Asia, but the world. While traditional allies were hesitant to roll out the red carpet for the Trump administration, Abe immediately sought out a friendship and diplomatic relationship with Trump.

The two world leaders have spoken over the phone over 40 times, and the president has invited Abe to the United States for special visits to Mar-a-Lago and the White House. Most recently, Abe traveled to Washington to spend a weekend with Trump, when they played golf and celebrated first lady Melania Trump’s birthday with a private dinner.

On Sunday morning, the two leaders plan to head to the suburbs of Tokyo, per a Japanese official, where they will play a round of their favorite sport, golf, reportedly with Japanese professional golfer Isao Aoki.

Golf has played an outsized role in the diplomatic relationship between Trump and Abe. Soon after Trump was elected, Abe gifted him a set of gold golf clubs, and the two have played multiple rounds of golf together.

Sunday’s round will be a chance for the two leaders to speak privately about pressing issues like North Korea, Trump’s trade war with China and a potential bilateral trade deal with Japan.

President presents 'Trump Cup' at sumo wrestling match

Abe has invited Trump to join him for the final round of wrestling matches at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium.

The event, attended by more than 1,000 people, allows the Japanese to showcase traditional culture that dates back to the 17th century. But professional wrestling of a different sort also happens to be one of Trump’s favorite pastimes. Before he moved into the White House, Trump made it into the WWE Hall of Fame and even entered the ring to fight with WWE owner Vince McMahon and, with some dramatic flair, shave McMahon’s head.

Trump will present the winner’s trophy, named after the emperor, but he will also present what the Japanese media have called the “Trump Cup.”

“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Trump said about sumo wrestling last month. He added that it is “something I’ll enjoy very much.”

The president said last month he was convinced to attend the tournament after Abe described it as bigger than the Super Bowl in Japan.

But ahead of the event, the Japanese have raised concerns not only about event security but about the president’s willingness to adhere to traditional norms.

While most attendees will sit cross-legged on a floor cushion, Trump will sit likely be seated in a ringside chair.

New Japanese Emperor

On Monday morning, Trump be the first leader to meet with the new emperor and his wife, Masako, a Harvard-educated former diplomat, since he inherited the throne.

The role of emperor, like the role of the queen of England, is largely ceremonial, but has played an important role during moments of crisis in Japan. Akihito was a popular leader in the country, and his son is expected to usher in a new era of modernity. That era, named “Reiwa,” stands for auspiciousness and harmony.

Trump and Abe talk North Korea

Following the pomp and circumstance of the emperor’s enthronement, Trump and Abe are expected to spend time discussing two of the most pressing issues for U.S.-Japan relations: North Korea and trade.

The threat of North Korea looms large over the island nation of Japan, which largely depends on the United States to help with defense. The Japanese have played a critical role in helping the United States monitor and surveil North Korean ships in the Pacific and have offered their guidance to Trump as he continues to have talks with the hermit nation about nuclear non-proliferation.

But the Japanese have been skeptical of some of Trump’s goals. For one, the Japanese are concerned that the United States will strike a nuclear deal with North Korea that leaves them at risk. Trump could push for North Korea to give up their intercontinental ballistic missiles, which can reach America, while allowing Kim Jong Un to keep firing off short-range missiles with Japan right in the line of fire.

Abe is hopeful that like Trump, he too can meet with Kim for a summit. So far, the Japanese have been left out of talks with Kim, but they have advised Trump to convey to Kim their concerns about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and their desire for abductees to be returned.

The government of Japan is arranging a meeting with Trump, Abe and family members of Japanese people abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

Trump has raised the issue with Kim on behalf of the Japanese, but so far has not had any luck with securing their release.

Trade deal?

Top negotiators for the United States and Japan met ahead of Trump’s trip to Tokyo to discuss a potential bilateral trade deal.

A potential deal would stave off tariffs on Japanese cars and also allow the American agricultural industry more access to Japan.

The United States currently holds a $60 billion trade deficit with Japan.

Soon after taking office, Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal negotiated under President Barack Obama with 12 other countries, like Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Japan has hoped that the United States would return to the alliance, but Trump has made it clear he has no interest.

Abe has worked hard to have a personal rapport with Trump, but so far has not shown much for his efforts.

The U.S. has slapped tariffs on Japanese steel and aluminum and has threatened to tariff popular Japanese cars like Honda and Toyota. The president decided to delay his decision on foreign car tariffs ahead of the May 18 deadline for him to make a decision while negotiations are still underway.

Trump has said he could sign a deal while he is in Japan, but experts say it’s unlikely this trip will offer anything concrete on trade. Still, in a briefing with reporters, White House officials said there could be announcements from the United States over the course of the weekend.

"With so many opportunities for engagement, there appears to be less emphasis this time on concrete deliverables or joint statements and much more emphasis on demonstrating the strength of the U.S.-Japan relationship," said Nicholas Szechenyi, Japan chair at Center for Strategic and International Studies. "But there are also issues that require a lot of coordination, North Korea and trade among them. So it will be an interesting dynamic surrounding the visit."

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iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A California federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from using $1 billion diverted from military accounts, including pay and pension funds, to begin border wall construction.

The judge did not rule on the legality of the administration’s diversion of another $3.6 billion from military construction funds -- budgeted as part of a national emergency declaration -- since the administration has not yet identified a final plan to use those funds.

Construction on the wall was scheduled to begin as early as Saturday.

The ruling cited the Executive Branch's attempt to circumvent Congress as reason for blocking the funds.

Granting the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam wrote, “The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds 'without Congress' does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic."

"The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise," Gilliam wrote. "It's about how the administration plans to fund it."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, celebrated the ruling. The group even sarcastically posted a video on Twitter of President Donald Trump repeatedly promising to build the wall.

"This is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities," the ACLU said in a statement. "The court blocked all wall projects currently slated for immediate construction."

"If the Trump administration begins illegally diverting additional funds, we'll be back in court," it added.

Gilliam, who was nominated by then-President Barack Obama in 2014, specifically cited frustration as not being enough to go against the "essential" function of "our constitutional system."

"Congress’s 'absolute' control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the Executive Branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system. It is a feature of that system, and an essential one," Gilliam wrote.

Trump has made building the border wall the central tenant of both his campaign and now his presidency. He declared a national emergency on Feb. 15 as a means of securing funding for the wall after he could not get a bill passed in Congress to provide money for construction.

As recently as Monday at a campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania, Trump said the wall was "being built as we speak" and claimed "almost 500 miles" will be erected by the end of next year. However, that construction was based on winning the court battle and much of it would replace existing barriers, not build new wall.

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Obtained by ABC News(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Candidates up and down tickets in the 2018 midterm elections were some of the most diverse in U.S. history -- they were also the youngest. About 700 millennial candidates ran in roughly 6,000 state legislative races, according to the group Run for Something.

Will Haskell was one of those millennials who won.

"We need every generation to have a seat at the table," he told ABC News' "The Briefing Room."

Haskell, a 22-year-old Democrat, was elected to Connecticut’s state senate in November when he beat incumbent Republican Toni Boucher who had been serving longer than Haskell had been alive.

“I’m certainly confused for an intern multiple times a week. But I’ll tell you, it’s already been so rewarding and I’m only a few months into my first term,” Haskell said.

Since getting sworn in this January, Haskell has focused on higher education and employment policy. Last month he introduced his first bill, designed to improve mental health prevention and treatment in higher education.

Haskell told ABC News, he was “starting with an issue that is really important to [him] and young people across Connecticut.”

The bill calls for a task force to study policies currently in place to prevent or treat students’ mental illnesses, and it passed the senate unanimously.

Each day that the senate is in session, Haskell drives an hour and a half from his hometown of Westport, Conn. in the 26th district to Hartford, Conn. His days are filled with media interviews, committee meetings and votes -- and after that’s all through, he makes time for constituents.

“I learn every day from my colleagues who are older and who have been there for a long time. Some of them have been there longer than I’ve been alive. So one thing I get to bring into our caucus room is a knowledge of how to reach the next generation,” Haskell said.

Haskell says he hopes other young voters follow his lead and run for office.

“Bringing that perspective of the next generation is absolutely crucial and that is a big part of why I decided to run for office,” Haskell said.

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iStock/visual7(JACKSON, Miss.) -- A federal court in Mississippi on Friday temporarily blocked the state's new "fetal heartbeat" law that bans abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy. The law was set to take effect July 1.

“Here we go again," U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves wrote in his opinion. "Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability.”

Mississippi is one of ten states to push through a law restricting access to abortion in 2019, though all of those laws have faced lawsuits that challenge their constitutionality and none of them are in effect. Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky have passed bans similar to Mississippi's, and earlier on Friday, Missouri's governor signed a new eight-week ban. Alabama passed a law that would criminalize abortion for doctors who perform them, while Utah and Arkansas have pushed through legislation that would ban the most common form of second-trimester abortions.

The judge went on to say that Mississippi's law, which was passed in March, “prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”

The case was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Mississippi Center for Justice on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.

“Unfortunately, the legislature and the Governor think they should make these decisions for women instead of letting women make their own decisions about childbirth,” Rob McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice said in a statement. “Fortunately, the federal court has once again stepped in to block this egregious governmental intrusion on the private lives of Mississippi’s women.”

Shannon Brewer, the clinic's director, noted that most of the patients who seek abortions are past the six-week mark.

A representative of Governor Phil Bryant could not immediately be reached for comment.

But when he signed the bill in March, Bryant said he would not be deterred by the threat of lawsuits.

“If they do not believe in the sanctity of life, these that are in organizations like Planned Parenthood, we will have to fight that fight," he said, according to the Associated Press. "But it is worth it.”

In late 2018, the same judge struck down another Mississippi law, which barred women from getting abortions 15 weeks into their pregnancy. In his decision on Friday, he noted that the state had responded to that decision "by passing an even more restrictive bill."

President Trump's appointment of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court has given the court a conservative majority, and abortion foes see a historic opportunity to overturn or at least chip away at Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the group intends to "block them at every turn."

“The Constitution protects a woman’s right to make decisions over her body and her life," she said. "The district court’s decision today was a resounding affirmation of this settled law.”

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Friday continued his showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats regarding oversight of the Mueller investigation and potential impeachment, declaring: “It’s over.”

“All they do is want to try and do a redo of the Mueller report,” Trump charged, fielding questions from reporters at the White House as he departed for a trip to Tokyo, Japan. “They were very unhappy with the Mueller report. They want to do a redo of the Mueller report. It's over. There is no redo. They lost. It's very clear. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction so there's no redo.”

Pressed by ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on what he was trying to accomplish with his personal attacks on Pelosi this week, the president shot back, insisting the speaker started it when she accused Trump of leading a cover-up.

Pelosi on Thursday also said Trump's family or members of his administration need to stage "an intervention."

“When you say ‘a personal attack,’ did you hear what she said about me long before I went after her?" Trump asked. "Did you hear? She made horrible statements. She knows they are not true.”

“She said terrible things, so I just responded in kind,” he added. “Look, you think Nancy is the same as she was? She's not.”

On Thursday night, he tweeted out a segment from the Fox Business program "Lou Dobbs Tonight" showing an edited video of Pelosi earlier in the day titled "Pelosi stammers through news conference."

The video was edited to highlight when Pelosi paused or hesitated while speaking.

A separate video circulating on Twitter was doctored to make it appears as if Pelosi were slurring her words during remarks at a Washington think tank on Wednesday.

That prompted Pelosi's daughter Christine to tweet that "Republicans and their conservative allies have been pumping this despicable fake meme for years! Now they are caught. #FactCheck: Madam Speaker doesn’t even drink alcohol!

On Friday, when asked: "Is your relationship with Nancy Pelosi soured to the point that it's too personal -- and some of the altered videos being disseminated -- Is that going too far? Trump said, “Well, I don’t know about the videos."

While touting his own record as president, Trump said he believes Pelosi “is not helping this country” and called Democrats “obstructionists.”

“They are hurting our country very, very bad,” Trump said. “We can pass so many different bills right now but all they want to do is investigate because they failed with Robert Mueller and the Mueller report.”

Trump defended his decision to empower Attorney General William Barr, who he called “a great man,” with the ability to declassify intelligence related to the origins of the Russia investigation.

“He's a great gentleman and a highly respected man,” Trumps said of Barr. “They will be able to see how this hoax, how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started. It was an attempted coup or an attempted take down of the President of the United States. It should never have happen to anybody else.”

"People have been asking me to declassify for a long period of I've decided to do it,” Trump added. “You're going to learn a lot. I hope it's going to be nice, but perhaps it won't be.”

Trump denied that he had approved the move in order to get revenge against his political adversaries.

“It's not payback,” he said. “I don't care about payback. I think it's very important for our country to find out what happened.”

The president predicted that his approval rating would nearly double if the press reported on “serious good news,” such as on the economy or lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

“If you gave serious good news the way you're supposed to, I'd probably be at 70 or 75 based on the economy alone,” he claimed.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Saying he wants him to be "fair," President Donald Trump on Friday described why he has given Attorney General William Barr sweeping powers to declassify intelligence as part of his review into how the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election began and the resulting surveillance on the Trump campaign.

“He's a great gentleman and a highly respected man,” Trumps told reporters as he left the White on Friday on a trip to Japan.

“They will be able to see how this hoax, how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started. It was an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States. It should never have to happen to anybody else,” he said. "You are going to learn a lot. I hope it will be nice, but perhaps it won't be," he said.

"I want somebody that will be fair. I think William Barr is one of the most respected men doing what he does in our whole country. I just want him to be fair. I don't want him to be for me or anybody else. I want him to be fair. That's what he is. We are going to find what this yields," Trump continued.

“It's not payback,” he said. “I don't care about payback. I think it's very important for our country to find out what happened.”

He referred to long-standing efforts by House Republicans to get the nation's intelligence agencies to reveal what they knew about how the probe began -- an FBI probe that eventually became special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

"I'll tell you, declassifying. People have wanted me to do it a long time. It's very important to do. Basically what are we doing? We're exposing everything. We're being a word that you like, transparent. We're being transparent," the president said.

Trump's extraordinary move giving Barr broad authority to declassify information related to the investigation came in a memo made public Thursday night. It also directed the intelligence community to fully cooperate with Barr's review so that "all Americans learn the truth," according to a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

"The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information," according to the statement.

"Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions," she said.

Barr has told Congress that there was "spying" on the Trump campaign, echoing repeated claims made by Trump as he fends off Democratic congressional investigations and calls for his impeachment.

"The first step is find out exactly what happened. And we're trying to get our arms around that getting all the relevant information from the various agencies and starting to talk to some of the people that have information," Barr told Fox News' Bill Hemmer last week.

"You know the thing that's interesting about this is that this was handled at a very senior level of these departments. It wasn't handled in the ordinary way that investigations or counterintelligence activities are conducted. It was sort of an ad hoc small group and most of these people are no longer with the FBI or the CIA or the other agencies involved," Barr said on Fox.

The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, quickly attacked the move as political.

“While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies. The coverup has entered a new and dangerous phase. This is un-American,” Schiff said in a statement.

"This is a grotesque abuse of the intelligence community. And what's really disturbing is on the very same day that the president says I can't work with Congress to get anything done for the American people because I can't do that and respond to investigations at the same time, he initiates yet another investigation," House Judiciary Committee member Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said on MSNBC Thursday night.

Giving Barr the power to declassify information is "really extraordinary." according to one former National Security Agency attorney.

“The problem is two-fold: First, as attorney general, Barr… is not naturally situated to have the full scope to know the impact of a declassification decision. He’s not in the best position to assess the potential damage," April Falcon Doss, a former NSA attorney and former Democratic counsel for the Senate’s Russia probe told ABC News.

"These sources and methods are fragile, perishable and the intelligence community agency who originated the information is best positioned to understand the impact of a particular declassification decision."

“Second, the AG is a political appointee. He’s already come under a lot of fire for behaving in ways that many have viewed as partisan. So, any decision he makes regarding declassification not only could be influenced by partisan considerations, but is almost certain to be seen as partisan considerations,” she told ABC News.

The review does not have any criminal implications, and would not involve criminal investigative power, according to one former U.S. Attorney.

"A criminal probe has as its target end criminal charges. A review, at least initially, does not anticipate criminal charges...," former U.S. Attorney Michael Stern told ABC News.

Stern agreed that it was dangerous "ordering one law enforcement agency to investigate another."

On Friday afternoon, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats put out a statement saying the intelligence community would cooperate with Barr's review.

"I am confident that the Attorney General will work with the IC in accordance with the long-established standards to protect highly-sensitive classified information that, if publicly released, would put our national security at risk. The IC will continue to faithfully execute its mission of providing timely, apolitical intelligence to the President and policymakers," his statement said.

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- An additional 1,500 U.S. troops and increased defensive capabilities are being sent to the Middle East to continue to help deter Iran, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

While departing the White House for a trip to Japan, President Donald Trump described the number of troops headed to the Middle East as a "relatively small number."

"We want to have protection," he told reporters. "We'll be sending a relatively small number of troops -- mostly protective. Some very talented people are going to the Middle East, right now. We'll see what happens."

“I don't think Iran wants to fight," he said. “And I certainly don't think they want to fight with us. They cannot have nuclear weapons and under the Obama horrible agreement, they would have had nuclear weapons within five or six years. They can't have nuclear weapons. They understand that."

The number of troops the president approved on Thursday is much smaller than the 5,000 to 10,000 that had initially been proposed by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) as part of the ongoing effort to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces in the Middle East and to boost the force protection of forces already in the region.

At a briefing, senior Pentagon officials said the 1,500 forces included a Patriot anti-missile battalion of 600 soldiers whose deployment to the region will be extended, engineers who will "harden" existing U.S. military facilities, more manned and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and a squadron of 12 fighter aircraft.

The lower troop figure was the result of "back and forth" conversations between CENTCOM and the Joint Staff that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had described for reporters on Thursday. Those conversations centered on fine-tuning the capabilities being requested by CENTCOM and units available for deployment..

In announcing the deployment, Pentagon officials said the moves were meant to counter a new Iranian "campaign" to target U.S. forces in the region that originated at the "top levels" of Iran's leadership. For the first time U.S. officials directly blamed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for last week's sabotage attack on four freighters off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

"We did attribute it directly to limpet mines, and those limpet mines to the IRGC," Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, told reporters Friday. Limpet mines are explosive devices that are attached to a target by magnets.

The admiral said that what made the new Iranian campaign different from previous "episodic" actions was that it was spread “across multiple domains”. That included threats to the vital Bab al Mandeb Strait off of Yemen by Iranian proxies, Iran's public comments about closing the Strait of Hormuz, the placement of cruise missiles on civilian dhows, proxy attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure and last week’s rocket attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad that was carried out by an Iranian proxy group.

Katie Wheelbarger, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, said that the intelligence that was flowing in about the Iranian campaign was significant for experienced Iran watchers like her.

“For those of us that watch this every day , it was a significant change in what we were seeing,” Wheelbarger said. She added that the U.S. intelligence community is seeking to declassify some of that intelligence so that it can be shown to the American public and overseas partners

There are currently 60,000 to 80,000 U.S. troops serving in the Middle East including 14,000 in Afghanistan, 5,000 in Iraq, 2,000 in Syria, 10,000 in Kuwait, 10,000 in Qatar and thousands more at sea and elsewhere in the region.

U.S. officials said the Iranian threat to U.S. forces continues even as Iran has pulled back some weapons systems. Two U.S. officials said that Iran has removed cruise missiles from two of the civilian dhows that Gilday described as posing a risk to U.S. Navy ships, commercial ships and land targets.

The Pentagon officials stressed that the U.S. does not seek a military conflict with Iran.

We want to be clear that based on our posture and based on the assets that we're flowing to theater, we're narrowly focused defensive posture on our part and not in any way designed to be provocative," said Gilday.

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Mark Makela/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Major digital companies have reacted differently to slow the viral spread of a subtly manipulated video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – a video that could be a harbinger of the political digital fakery to come in 2020 and beyond.

A video that appeared to have been digitally altered to slow the speech of the House Speaker at a recent public appearance, making her appear impaired, made the rounds on social media and major digital platforms in recent days.

YouTube said it had removed versions of the slowed-down video, saying it violated company policies.

A representative for Facebook said their third-party fact-checking partners had deemed the video “false,” and the social media giant was “heavily reducing its distribution” in Facebook’s newsfeed. Versions of the video still exist on Facebook, however, one of which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times as of this report.

A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment, but at least one version is still live on that platform as of this report. Twitter’s media policy bans videos that show things like “gratuitous gore” or “adult content,” but doesn’t mention deceptively altered videos.

The slowed-down video was one of two controversial Pelosi videos in the news. The other, heavily edited footage of Pelosi appearing to stammer during another speech, was retweeted by President Trump Thursday, a move that came as the two political leaders traded increasingly personal public jabs.

Ben Nimmo, an information defense fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab, said that the slowed-down video is the latest example of the growing ease with which online content can be altered to sow chaos in the political process – a threat that he expects will only grow as the 2020 presidential race approaches.

“It doesn’t have to be massively complex… but it hits the crucial nerve,” he said. “There are people out there who will want to believe it and people out there who will want to share it because it suits their political beliefs.

“A fake doesn’t have to be 100 percent convincing; it just has to be convincing enough,” he said.

Nimmo said the Pelosi video is also representative of the “slippery slope” from relatively simple manipulation to much-feared “deep fake” videos.

Deep fakes are a more sophisticated brand of digital manipulation in which a programmer can convincingly make it appear as if an individual said or did something they did not, as highlighted in an ABC News “Nightline” investigation.

Experts have been warning that convincing deep fakes – like the one produced by Buzzfeed that put words in the mouth of former President Barack Obama – could make an appearance ahead of the 2020 race as the technology becomes more and more accessible.

“I think the challenge is that it is easier to create manipulated images and video and that can be done by an individual now,” Matt Turek, head of the media forensics program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, run by the U.S. Department of Defense, told ABC News of deep fakes in December. “Manipulations that may have required state-level resources or several people and a significant financial effort can now potentially be done at home.”

Deep fakes got a shout-out from U.S. intelligence leaders at this year’s Senate Intelligence Committee Worldwide Threat hearing in January. When discussing online influence and election interference threats, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified U.S. “adversaries and strategic competitors probably will attempt to use deep fakes or similar machine-learning technologies to create convincing – but false – image, audio, and video files to augment influence campaigns directed against the United States and our allies and partners.”

Nimmo said it’s important the public is aware of a threat that’s not going away anytime soon.

“I think this is something we’re going to have to prepare for for every election in the coming years,” he said.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Special counsel Robert Mueller is eager to avoid the politics swirling around his investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia’s 2016 influence efforts and doesn’t want to testify publicly on Capitol Hill about his findings, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Thursday.

“He doesn't want to be public in what some people will regard as a political spectacle, I think,” Nadler said in an interview with MSNBC, confirming reports from ABC News and other outlets about House Democrats pushing back on DOJ's offer for limited Mueller testimony.

“He’s willing to make an opening statement, but he wants to testify in private,” he said. “We think it's important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report.”

Nadler and the committee have been in discussions with Justice Department officials about Mueller’s appearance for weeks, after initially proposing the special counsel appear on May 15.

President Trump, after initially suggesting Mueller shouldn’t testify, said he would defer to Attorney General Bill Barr. The attorney general has repeatedly said he has no objections to Mueller testifying.

“He envisions himself correctly as a man of great rectitude and apolitical and he doesn't want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle, especially if Republicans on the committee start asking him questions about the beginning of the -- about this stuff, the beginning of the investigation,” Nadler said.

While Republicans have concerns about the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign, Democrats have wanted to push Mueller on his findings, particularly on his decision not to make any determination as to whether Trump obstructed justice, after outlining several episodes of potential obstruction of the investigation into his campaign.

Additionally, the special counsel’s probe uncovered no evidence that Trump or Trump campaign officials conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Some House Democrats expressed a willingness this week to accommodate his reservations about a nationally-televised public hearing, and suggested that they could accept some limitations on his public testimony.

“I think it's important that he can make his statement,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told ABC News. “He can do that with a lengthy statement to explain his report, and respond to questions [in private].”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., whose committee is also in negotiations with Justice Department officials about Mueller appearing before his panel, acknowledged that it wouldn’t be possible to discuss some elements of Mueller’s investigation publicly.

“There may be certain aspects involving classified information that we'll need to have in closed session,” Schiff said. “But it's also vitally important that the department try not to censor what he can say to our committee.”

“It is one thing to have him testify in public, it's another if the Justice Department sits behind him and tells him he can't answer this question, or that question, or do more than just read his own report. That won't fly.”

Nadler said Thursday that his committee would release transcripts from any closed-door session with Mueller, and didn’t rule out potentially hearing from the special counsel’s deputies, or other subject-matter experts in the coming weeks.

Democrats continue to press the Justice Department to provide the committee with the full, unredacted Mueller report, as well as the underlying materials gathered in the probe. Barr has not complied with a subpoena for both – and has instead offered a select group of lawmakers access to more materials at the Justice Department -- leading Democrats to try to hold him in contempt of Congress.

They are also grappling with the Trump administration over access to witnesses as part of efforts to follow up on Mueller’s findings. Former White House counsel Don McGahn defied a committee subpoena for his testimony, after the White House ordered him not to comply. The panel has also issued a subpoena for documents and testimony from former White House communications director Hope Hicks, and McGahn’s former chief of staff Annie Donaldson.

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WABC(NEW YORK) -- Democratic Rep, Jerry Nadler, who as House Judiciary Committee chairman is leading his party's congressional investigation into President Donald Trump, appeared to nearly faint at an event in New York City on Friday.

“He is okay. Seems to have been dehydrated and it was very warm in the room. He is now responsive and receiving a check-up,” a Nadler spokesman told ABC News.

The New York congressman, who's 71, was at an event with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio when video showed him slumping in his chair.

Microphones picked up De Blasio saying to Nadler, "You’re looking dehydrated brother. You are looking a little dehydrated, you want a drink?”

Then, shortly afterward, a voice on the loudspeaker announced: “I have a code blue in the gym. Code blue in the gym. First responders to the gym please.”

Nadler later could be seen drinking water and eating an orange. The event, with signs saying "speed cameras save lives," ended.

Not long after, he sent out a tweet saying he was "feeling much better."

Appreciate everyone's concern. Was very warm in the room this morning, was obviously dehydrated and felt a bit ill. Glad to receive fluids and am feeling much better. Thank you for your thoughts.

— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) May 24, 2019

Nadler has had an especially high profile and busy schedule as of late, doing political battle with the president and House Republicans and taking part in numerous television interviews.

President Trump has repeatedly attacked him, often mentioning their feud go back to their days in New York before Trump ran for president.

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