Politics

Robert Mueller and lawmakers agree to delay hearing for 1 week

Robert Mueller is perhaps the one person lawmakers and the nation have been wanting to hear from the most.
Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
Robert Mueller is perhaps the one person lawmakers and the nation have been wanting to hear from the most.

WASHINGTON — Former special counsel Robert Mueller and two House panels struck a deal Friday to reschedule his congressional testimony for July 24 and agreed to give lawmakers more time to question him about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

Mueller had been scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on Wednesday in a much-anticipated public appearance since he gave a short statement following the conclusion of his nearly two-year investigation.

Instead, Mueller will testify beginning 8:30 a.m. on July 24 for three hours before the Judiciary panel, and then give testimony to the Intelligence Committe, the two panels announced late Friday. Under the previous agreement, Mueller would appear for two hours each before the Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

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‘‘This will allow the American public to gain further insight into the Special Counsel’s investigation and the evidence uncovered regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and President Trump’s possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power,’’ said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat.

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The former FBI director is perhaps the one person lawmakers and the nation have been wanting to hear from most.

The Mueller report said investigators found insufficient evidence to show a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election and reached no conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice — despite laying out episodes of the president apparently seeking to stymie the investigation.

Mueller spoke to the public briefly in May, saying that he could neither clear nor accuse Trump of obstructing justice, leaving room for Congress to make that call and fueling impeachment demands among some Democrats.

Many members of the Judiciary Committee were concerned that two hours is insufficient time to discuss even half of the 10 areas of potential obstruction of justice by Trump identified in the Mueller report.

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Democrats want to highlight each of those 10 episodes in their hearing, well aware that most of the public has not read the report. The time crunch, however, has made their job difficult, forcing Democrats to prioritize episodes on which they would like to focus.