Jul 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court to hear Trump appeal on release of Mueller grand jury materials

Robert Mueller.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Thursday confirmed it will hear a Trump administration appeal to shield secret Mueller investigation grand jury materials from the Democratic-controlled House.

Why it matters: The move will likely extend the legal battle over the documents into next year, essentially guaranteeing that they won't be released before November's election. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sought to obtain the records as part of their impeachment inquiry last year.

Details: The court said it will review an order from a lower court for the Department of Justice to hand over redacted parts of Mueller's final report, along with grand jury transcripts.

  • Grand jury records are usually kept secret, but a judge can authorize to disclose them during “judicial proceedings.” The legal question is whether the House's impeachment inquiry falls under that.
  • A federal appeals court previously ruled Democrats could gain access to the materials. But the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the DOJ from handing it over in May, and the court extended that ruling today.

What's next: The court will consider the case in the term that starts this October.

What they're saying:

“I am disappointed by the Court’s decision to prolong this case further, but I am confident we will prevail.  In every administration before this one, DOJ has cooperated with the Judiciary Committee’s requests for grand jury materials relating to investigations of impeachable offenses.  Attorney General Barr broke from that practice, and DOJ’s newly invented arguments against disclosure have failed at every level.
Unfortunately, President Trump and Attorney General Barr are continuing to try to run out the clock on any and all accountability.  While I am confident their legal arguments will fail, it is now all the more important for the American people to hold the President accountable at the ballot box in November.”
— House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler
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