Update: Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s planned July 17 testimony is being delayed for one week—to July 24—to allow lawmakers to question him for a longer period of time, two U.S. House committees announced late July 12.
The House Judiciary Committee is considering a one-week delay in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s scheduled testimony, according to Reuters citing two sources with knowledge about the matter.
A committee aide told Reuters in an earlier statement that, “At this moment we still plan to have our hearing on the 17th and we will let you know if that changes.”
Earlier, Politico reported that the former special counsel’s public testimony may be postponed under a tentative deal he had made with House Democrats. Although the exact reason for the delay has not been revealed, sources told the news outlet that one reason for the delay is due to an ongoing negotiation on the time lawmakers would have to ask Mueller questions during the hearing.
The Hill also reported, citing sources, about the possible delay but cautioned that the decision is still pending a final agreement by Democrats. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mueller had offered to delay the testimony by a week to allow lawmakers more time to question him. His offer is currently being considered by the committee panels, according to multiple sources.
Mueller was initially scheduled to testify in open session before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17, the panels’ chairmen, Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced on June 25. After the Mueller report was released in April, House Democrats have expended great effort to secure the former special counsel’s testimony in an attempt to gather evidence for impeachment.
The former special counsel’s more than 400-page report, which was released in late April, details how the special counsel concluded that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. The special counsel also left some Americans confused by staying silent on whether he would charge Trump with obstruction of justice, and says he had not exonerated Trump or proven him innocent in the report.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused the Democrats of pursuing a “do-over” and weaponizing the findings of the Mueller investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
“My only response to Mueller is, does it ever stop? After all of these years, time and people, does it ever stop? And the Democrats use it to try and divert from what they have, because what they’ve done—if you look and you see, and it’s just my opinion—tremendous criminal activity on their side. And they know it, and this is the diversion. But I ask you this—does it ever stop?” Trump said on June 26.
“This is really a hoax, the worst political scandal is on the other side,” he added.
Following the release of the Mueller report, Democratic lawmakers ramped up their investigations and subpoenas for multiple witnesses in hopes of gathering information that could be used to prepare for an impeachment proceeding.
Nadler and Schiff compelled Mueller, through a subpoena, to appear before Congress to testify on the findings of his report, even though the former special counsel said during a rare press conference on May 29 that he did not want to speak further and to refer to the report as his testimony.
“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” he said at the time.
The top Democrats argued in a letter on June 25 that they wanted Mueller to appear in order to “address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work.”
“[T]he American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions. We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our Committees as scheduled,” the two Democratic committee leaders wrote in their letter (pdf).
This is a developing story and will be updated
Reuters contributed to this report.