House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has been taking heat from his fellow Democrats over the format of the upcoming committee hearing with former special counsel Robert Mueller, and now the hearing is being delayed a week.
Initially, Mueller and Nadler agreed that the former would appear for questioning going no longer than two hours. According to a report at CNN, junior Democrats on the committee have expressed their frustrations with the hearing format publicly and privately, as they might not be able to ask Mueller questions under the time limit.
“It’s definitely a problem for only a couple of us to be able to ask questions,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) told the outlet. “I mean, the hearing goes until everybody’s had an opportunity to ask a question. That’s standard practice, that’s what everybody’s used to. But considering the significance of this issue, the fact that people have read the report, they want to drill down. That would be very, very frustrating.”
Freshman Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean (Penn.), who also serves on the committee, said that she would be “disappointed” if she wouldn’t be able to question Mueller. “I feel it’s part of my duty to be part of this oversight … I feel an absolute duty to fulfill this role.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) criticized the arrangement, saying, “Every single member of the House Democratic caucus and the entire Judiciary Committee should be able to participate in the hearing in some way, shape or form.”
“This committee got rolled,” top Judiciary Committee Republican Doug Collins (Ga.) said of Nadler’s handling of the hearing earlier this week.
Those frustrations have been heard and appears that the hearing may be moved back to allow for more question time.
A report at the Washington Examiner said that the hearing had pushed back a week. “It appears the hearing will be rescheduled. The final details are being ironed out now,” an aide to a senior House Judiciary Committee member told the Washington Examiner. The Wall Street Journal reports the same, as does Politico.
There has been no official confirmation on the delay, thus far.
“At this moment we still plan to have our hearing on the 17th and we will let you know if that changes,” a Nadler spokesman said Friday.
“If the Democrats move the testimony by a week just because everyone wants to get their time in the spotlight to ask a question,” Lawfare Blog managing editor Quinta Jurecic tweeted, “I don’t have words for how stupid that is,” noting that the hearing shouldn’t be able fundraising or “getting a viral video clip.”
However, the two-hour format may also run afoul of chamber rules. Earlier this week, Collins pointed out that effectively limiting the number of members who can ask question violates a House rule that requires all members on a committee be given allotted time to question a witness.