Special counsel Mueller’s testimony delayed until July 24

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress has been delayed until July 24 under an agreement that gives lawmakers more time to question him.

Mueller had been scheduled to testify July 17 before two house committees about the findings of his Russia investigation. But lawmakers in both parties complained that the short length of the hearings would not allow enough time for all members to ask questions.

Under the new arrangement, Mueller will testify for an extended period of time — three hours instead of two — before the House Judiciary Committee. He will then testify before the House intelligence committee in a separate hearing. The two committees said in a statement that all members of both committees will be able to question him.

The agreement will also give Mueller more time to prepare for the rigorous questioning. The statement said the postponement was “at his request.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced the terms after days of negotiations and questions over whether the testimony would be delayed. In the joint statement, the panels said the longer hearings “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.”

Mueller has expressed his reluctance to testify and said he won’t go beyond what’s in his 448-page report. But Democrats have been determined to highlight its contents for Americans who they believe have not read it. They want to extract information from the former special counsel and spotlight what they say are his most damaging findings against Trump.

Democrats are expected to ask Mueller about his conclusions, including that he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice after detailing several episodes in which Trump tried to influence the investigation. Mueller also said there was not enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin.

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