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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

Go deeper

Oct 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barr tells Republicans Durham report won't be ready by election

Barr at the White House Sept. 26. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr has begun telling top Republicans that the Justice Department’s sweeping review into the origins of the Russia investigation will not be released before the election, a senior White House official and a congressional aide briefed on the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans had long hoped the report, led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, would be a bombshell containing revelations about what they allege were serious abuses by the Obama administration and intelligence community probing for connections between President Trump and Russia.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Josh Hawley plans to push Democrats to renounce "religious test"

Sen. Josh Hawley meets with Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 1. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told Axios that at next week's Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, he will call on Democrats to preemptively renounce any attacks on her Catholic faith.

  • "I want to hear that out of their mouths from every Judiciary Committee member," Hawley told me during an Axios News Shapers virtual event. "I'm going to call it out at every single opportunity."

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

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