Supreme Court blocks House from Mueller grand jury material

Epoch Times

Epoch Times

If it does, it's likely the administration will be able to put off the release of any materials until after Election Day.

The move signals the possibility that even if the House prevails, it won't gain access to the full, unedited Mueller report until after President Donald Trump faces voters this November. It's hard to imagine the Biden administration would object to turning over the Mueller documents or House Republicans would continue to press for them.

In March, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit voted, 2-1, to uphold Howell's ruling.

Concealing the grand jury records keeps the House from fulfilling an essential function, the committee argued. "The court of appeals" interpretation defies that ordinary meaning, and creates needless contradictions with the other instances of "judicial proceeding' in Rule 6 (e)(3) itself".

The House Judiciary Committee asked a federal judge for an order directing the Justice Department to hand over an unredacted copy of the report along with some of the documents and interviews referred to by the blacked-out items.

The House had opposed the delay on the grounds that its investigation of Trump was continuing, and that time is of the essence because of the approaching election.

"Those redactions bear on whether the president committed impeachable offenses by obstructing the FBI's and Special Counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and his possible motivations for doing so", the House said in its filing this week.

The case is one of several ongoing court disputes between the Trump administration and Congress.

Former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller testifies before Congress
Former special prosecutor Robert Mueller testifies before Congress in Washington

But the House said it is covered by the exception, noting that the Constitution says the Senate has the sole power to "try" all impeachments, requires the chief justice to preside, and refers to a "judgment" in cases of impeachment.

The appeals court also is weighing whether former White House counsel Don McGahn must appear before the committee to answer questions related to the Mueller investigation.

The House, in a Supreme Court filing this week, told the justices that the information is still relevant to an "ongoing investigation" and could even lead to new impeachment charges against Trump.

Mueller was appointed in 2017 to investigate allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.

In the most famous example, the judge presiding over the Watergate grand jury turned over its report to the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 as it prepared articles of impeachment against President Nixon.

Theappeals court panel ruled that the House's request for the information as part of the impeachment process was sufficient to qualify under an exception in court rules that permits disclosure of grand jury information as part of a judicial proceeding.

Lower courts agreed with lawmakers that impeachment is considered a judicial proceeding, rejecting Justice Department arguments to the contrary.

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