Mueller’s congressional testimony could be postponed a week

14 July, 2019, 13:13 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Robert Mueller Should Testify Publicly

House Democrats are considering a delay of special counsel Robert Mueller's high-profile hearing next week because of concerns over the short length of the scheduled hearings before two committees.

"We have agreed to postpone the hearing for one week, until July 24", Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in the joint statement on Friday night.

But the plan sparked an uproar from members on the Judiciary Committee of both parties over the limited time the special counsel was expected to testify, which would have shut out roughly half the panel from asking questions of Mueller.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, House Democratic Caucus chairman and Judiciary member, told reporters he's continuing to operate under the assumption that Mr. Mueller will come to testify on July 17, as originally planned. After a brief break, the House Intelligence Committee will convene for additional public testimony beginning at 12:00 pm.

Under the previous agreement, Mueller would appear for two hours each before the Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Mueller's only public comments on the investigation came in May, when he did not clear Trump of wrongdoing and reaffirmed his reluctance to testify in front of Congress. Democrats had initially hoped they would have more time in the capital after the hearings before decamping to their home states to capitalize on any momentum provided by Mr. Mueller's testimony for their investigations.

During his last day on the special counsel, Mueller stated that he did not want to appear before Congress.

In terms of obstruction of justice, Mueller declined to make a "traditional prosecutorial judgment" citing a Department of Justice policy to not charge a sitting president. He found no evidence of collusion between President Trump and Russian Federation, a point Trump has consistently noted via social media.

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One thing Judiciary members want to focus on in questioning Mueller is whether Trump would have been charged with a crime were he not president.

The official did not name that person.

The closed-door testimony of the deputies was a significant hang-up as negotiations dragged on Friday to delay Mueller's testimony, according to a source familiar with the discussions. That person also declined to be named because the committee had not announced it.

The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees have been negotiating to allow lawmakers more time to grill him.

"I have been elected just like anyone else here", said Arizona Rep. "The new format will allow all Judiciary Republicans to question the special counsel on July 24", Congressman Doug Collins, R-Ga., said in his statement. But Democrats have had little success so far in their attempts to probe his findings as the White House has blocked several witnesses from answering questions.

"This committee got rolled", he said.

Mueller addressed the public from the Department of Justice earlier this year following his "No Collusion" conclusion; telling the American people any Congressional testimony would be confined to the contents of his report.

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