DOJ ordered to turn over secret Grand Jury material in Mueller probe to House Dems

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A federal appeals court has ruled in a 2-1 decision that the Justice Department must give House lawmakers secret grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation. If the House Democrats get the material, it won’t be secret for long. They will selectively leak.

A three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling Tuesday ordering the DOJ to turn over secret redacted Grand Jury materials from the Mueller probe to the House Judiciary, The Washington  Examiner reported.

The Justice Department objected to disclosure because of “general purposes and policies of Grand Jury secrecy.” The panel said the Committee has a more compelling need.

DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said they are reviewing the decision.

The appeals court judges were nominated by three different presidents, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Judge Judith Rogers, appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1993, wrote Tuesday’s opinion and was joined by Judge Thomas Griffith, a President George W. Bush appointee in 2005. The dissenter was Judge Neomi Rao, who joined the court after an appointment from President Trump in 2019.”

THE DISSENTER

Judge Rao dissented. She has very strong opinions in favor of protecting executive privilege and secret material. She dissented in part because the Senate already acquitted Trump after the House impeached him.

In the majority opinion, Rogers wrote that “second-guessing” Congress’ need for evidence would be “potentially problematic” and that the courts “cannot tell the House how to conduct its impeachment investigation or what lines of inquiry to pursue.”

But Rao suggested that the question about needing to access the materials might be moot, writing that the majority opinion ignores the fact that the Senate impeachment trial is over.

“[I]n the months following the Committee’s initial petition, the House passed two articles of impeachment and the Senate conducted an impeachment trial and voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump,” Rao wrote. “In light of these circumstances, I would remand to the district court to consider in the first instance whether the Committee can continue to demonstrate that its inquiry is preliminary to an impeachment proceeding and that it has a ‘particularized need’ for disclosure of the grand jury records.”

If appealed, and it likely will be appealed, it could go to the full Appeals Court and then the Supreme Court.


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