Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller II is offering to postpone his congressional testimony by one week to give lawmakers more time to question him about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mueller was scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17 in a much-anticipated public appearance since he gave a short statement following the conclusion of his nearly two-year investigation.
His offer to appear instead on July 24 is being considered by the congressional panels, according to multiple officials familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks.
Mueller’s offer to delay comes as House Democrats on the Judiciary panel pressed their leaders for more time to question Mueller. Under the current agreement, Mueller would appear for two hours each before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. But due to five-minute questioning rules, only the most senior dozen or so Democrats and Republicans on Judiciary would get to ask questions, upsetting more junior members.
Those members pressed the committee this week to try to get Mueller to commit to more time.
The negotiations come as a closed-door session with Mueller and his deputies was suddenly canceled. Under the original plan, after the open hearing with Mueller, House Democrats had proposed to question Mueller and his top lieutenants in private for an hour. But on Wednesday, lawmakers were told that the session was off.
Republicans have argued that the closed-door questioning was never agreed to. Democrats believed it was agreed to and that Mueller’s team may have backed out under pressure from the Justice Department not to participate.
Colby Itkowitz contributed.
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