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The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked House Democrats from accessing secret grand jury materials used in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The materials include redacted portions of the Mueller report that contain grand jury testimony and other underlying information. The court’s order will keep the secret materials out of Democrats’ hands until at least the beginning of summer.
In March, a lower court ruled that the House Judiciary Committee had a “compelling need” to access the secret materials that prosecutors collected during their investigation into Russia’s election interference. After nearly two years of investigation and over $30 million spent in taxpayer dollars, investigators found no evidence pointing to collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, Democrats say they are seeking the materials as part of their “ongoing presidential impeachment investigation” of President Trump.
(Via Fox News)
“The [House Judiciary] Committee’s investigation did not cease with the conclusion of the impeachment trial,” the Democrats told the nine justices. “If this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the articles adopted by the House, the committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.”
They were seeking testimony, transcripts and exhibits to look into the possible influence over decisions made in the prosecutions of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Stone was sentenced to three years in prison for obstructing Congress and other charges. The Justice Department moved to drop its case against Flynn after serious questions were raised about the nature of the investigation that led to his guilty plea of lying to the FBI.
The Trump administration has been reluctant to turn over further documents related to Mueller’s probe to House Democrats. DOJ officials said they turned over all relevant information, citing grand-jury rules for not providing unredacted material.
Democrats will certainly need a better reason to impeach the president than they had last time and they’re hoping to find something in these grand jury materials.
Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama-appointed judge, initially approved a request by House Democrats in Oct. 2019 for access to redacted material from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, as well as various items referenced in it.
At the time, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) described Howell’s ruling as “dangerous for every American.”
“This ruling is dangerous for every American. The grand jury secrecy rules exist to protect innocent people against public disclosure of information and hearsay that could unfairly harm them,” Rep. Collins said in a statement.
The Supreme Court gave Democrats a deadline of June 1 to brief the court on whether the full case should be heard.