WASHINGTON — Testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller will be delayed one week as a longer Capitol Hill appearance is negotiated, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee announced Friday.
Mueller had been scheduled to testify publicly before the committees on Wednesday about his two-year investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election and possible collusion and obstruction by President Donald Trump.
The testimony will now take place one week later, on July 24, and are scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.
The hearings will occur just two days before the House is expected to go on a six-week recess, giving Democrats little time for any immediate post-hearing action on Capitol Hill.
A number of lawmakers, especially Republicans, had complained about the time limits that would be imposed for questions in each hearing. The restrictions suggested that some members of the Judiciary Committee would not have the opportunity to ask questions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., downplayed the concerns at her weekly news conference Thursday.
“We’re very pleased that the special counsel — the former special counsel will be coming. But I have confidence in our committee chairs, Mr. Nadler in terms of the Judiciary Committee and Adam Schiff in terms of the Intelligence Committee. They’ll handle it very well. I wish we had more time, but I’m glad we have the time that we have.”
Mueller agreed to offer public testimony after Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., issued subpoenas late last month.
When Mueller spoke publicly for the first time about the Russia investigation in late May, he indicated that he did not want to testify before Congress about the probe or the report his team had produced. “I hope and expect that this is the only time that I will speak to you in this manner,” he said at the time.
“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office will not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made,” he added. “The work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony.”
Since the Mueller report's release, a number of Democrats have called for the Judiciary Committee to initiate a presidential impeachment inquiry. As of July 12, 84 Democrats and one independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, support opening one.