Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated Capitol Hill testimony – originally scheduled to begin this Wednesday, July 17 — will be delayed one week under an arrangement he reached with House Democrats, the Intelligence and Judiciary committees announced last Friday evening.
The arrangement, first reported by POLITICO, not only changes the date but extends Mueller’s time facing questions from the Judiciary Committee to three hours. Junior members of that panel had grown increasingly frustrated that the initial two-hour time frame would have prevented many of them from having a chance to question Mueller.
It is still unclear whether the Intelligence Committee, too, will be granted that extra hour. Multiple lawmakers said a separate closed-door session with Mueller’s deputies had been called off.
The newly rescheduled July 24 hearing puts Mueller’s testimony on the calendar just one day before lawmakers are scheduled to depart for their month-long annual summer recess.
Meanwhile, ahead of his delayed testimony, President Trump has not missed an opportunity to lay into the former special counsel, and discredit anything he may say.
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Ahead of Mueller’s delayed testimony, Trump is getting his attack lines ready and is relying on conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch to back up his criticism.
As he has in the past, Trump went on a recent Tweeter rampage, accusing Mueller and his team of carrying out “illegal deletion” of text messages that were exchanged between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. “This is one of the most horrible abuses of all. Those texts between gaga lovers would have told the whole story. Illegal deletion by Mueller. They gave us ‘the insurance policy,’” Trump tweeted last week, on Twitter.
This is not the first time Trump has made the claim. “Robert Mueller terminated their text messages together,” Trump said during an interview with Fox Business last month. “He terminated them. They’re gone. And that’s illegal. That’s a crime.”
In his further attempts to discredit Mueller ahead of his testimony, the President also retweeted several messages from Judicial Watch, including a quote from the group’s president, Tom Fitton, who claims the Mueller probe was “part of an effort to remove the president from office improperly.”
Trump also retweeted a message from Judicial Watch that calls on the president to order the Department of Justice to reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton.