WASHINGTON — House Democrats said late Friday that they had postponed until July 24 two hearings with Robert S. Mueller III, which had been scheduled to take place next week, to allow for expanded questioning of the former special counsel.
The reversal, after a day of negotiations with Mr. Mueller’s associates, came as both Democrats and Republicans were deep in preparations for the testimony. The back-to-back hearings are expected to be a pivotal moment for the House’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Trump.
Democrats on the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees initially reached a deal with Mr. Mueller late last month for his public testimony and to question two of his top deputies in closed session on July 17. They had been negotiating for weeks after the release of his 448-page report on Russia’s election interference efforts in 2016 and possible obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump.
But there had been persistent concerns. The Justice Department objected to questioning of Mr. Mueller’s deputies and directed them not to appear. And rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats complained about the time restrictions on Mr. Mueller’s testimony, which would have meant that most freshman lawmakers would be unable to question the former special counsel.