Mueller testimony likely to be delayed for one week

Former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE’s public testimony before Congress is likely to be postponed until July 24, multiple sources familiar with the matter told The Hill. 

The House Judiciary Committee is negotiating for lawmakers to have more time to question Mueller about his investigation into Russian interference and potential obstruction of justice by President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE, the sources said. They cautioned that the situation is fluid and is pending a final agreement by the Democrats on his appearance. 

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Mueller was initially scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on Wednesday. The initial agreement was for Mueller to testify at two consecutive hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, with his testimony limited to about two hours before each committee. Under the agreement, 22 lawmakers would be able to ask questions. 

Sources said that the Judiciary Committee is negotiating with Mueller to allow Democrats and Republicans each 30 minutes of additional questioning at the hearing. A committee spokesman emphasized that there is no deal and that the panel is still preparing for his appearance next week. 

“There is no deal. At this moment we still plan to have our hearing on the 17th,” said a Judiciary Committee spokesman. 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' DOJ files brief arguing against House impeachment probe MORE (D-N.Y.) repeatedly declined to address Mueller’s testimony when asked about the ongoing negotiations by reporters on Friday.

When asked if Republicans would be able to ask more questions at the hearing, Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsJustice OIG completes probe on FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers ramp up Silicon Valley antitrust probe | Treasury sanctions North Korean cyber groups | Thiel to host Kobach fundraiser House antitrust panel seeks internal records from Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook MORE (Ga.), the committee’s top Republican, said that seems to be the case but noted Democrats would have the final say. 

“It appears that way, but the Democrats have still got to give their answers and we’ll see what they say,” Collins told reporters Friday afternoon.

Two sources said the Intelligence Committee hearing would also be moved in lieu of a new deal.

A spokesman for the Intelligence panel did immediately not return a request for comment. 

The developments came roughly a half hour after the Judiciary Committee abruptly broke for a five-minute recess at the start of a hearing with experts focused on Mueller’s report. 

Members returned after several minutes without providing a reason for the recess. Collins began questioning and noted that Nadler had gone to the floor to speak on the 9/11 bill. 

Earlier this week, there were murmurs of frustration from some Democrats over the limited questioning time and the fact that some members would not be able to ask questions. Judiciary Democrats held a closed-door hearing on Wednesday evening to discuss their strategy for the hearing. 

Republicans used a markup on Thursday to criticize Nadler for the agreement over Mueller’s testimony, expressing anger they would not be able to question the former special counsel and accusing the Democratic chair of ceding time to the Intelligence Committee. Democrats accused Republicans of detracting from the subject matter of the markup — subpoenas for current and former Trump administration officials and immigration documents — and Nadler refused to discuss the negotiations with Mueller.

The Judiciary panel boasts 41 Democrats, and several lawmakers would not get to question Mueller under the initial deal for his testimony. The Intelligence panel, in contrast, has 22 members, meaning all committee lawmakers would have the opportunity to question Mueller. 

Democratic lawmakers and aides said repeatedly Thursday that the committee was still negotiating with Mueller over his appearance and that the situation was fluid. 

Nadler and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Schiff: Diplomacy with Iran 'only way out of this situation' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (D-Calif.) first announced late last month that Mueller would testify under subpoena on July 17. 

Members of Mueller’s staff are also expected to brief lawmakers behind closed doors, however there has been speculation that the Justice Department may look to block or limit their testimony, and it has been up in the air as a result.

—Updated at 2:31 p.m.