DOJ will appeal ruling over sealed Mueller materials to Supreme Court
The Department of Justice will appeal to the Supreme Court after it was ordered to hand over sealed documents from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to Congress.
The department on Friday asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay its ruling while it petitions the high court.
“Whether and under what circumstances Congress may resort to the courts to seek grand jury materials generated in a criminal investigation in aid of an impeachment inquiry is plainly a question of great significance to all three branches of government, as well as to the functioning of the grand jury system in high-profile, politically-charged matters,” the Justice Department wrote.
The move comes after a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel ruled 2-1 that the Trump administration would have to hand over to Congress grand jury materials from Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“The Department has objected to disclosure of the redacted grand jury materials, but the Department has no interest in objecting to the release of these materials outside of the general purposes and policies of grand jury secrecy, which as discussed, do not outweigh the Committee’s compelling need for disclosure,” Judge Judith Rogers wrote in a majority opinion.
“Special Counsel Mueller prepared his Report with the expectation that Congress would review it,” Rogers added.
On Friday, the Justice Department said that the decision allows “Congress to seek, on an assertion of relevance, grand jury materials without meeting the standards ordinarily required of other litigants, with concomitant potential for harassment of the Executive Branch.”
The House Judiciary Committee has been seeking the documents since last year as part of the impeachment inquiry and says that it still needs the documents even though Trump was acquitted in a Senate trial earlier this year.
The DOJ’s petition comes as the administration and the House are fighting an unprecedented number of court battles, mainly over congressional subpoenas. The Supreme Court in May will hear oral arguments in a set of cases concerning demands for the president’s personal financial records.
On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments over the House’s subpoena of former White House counsel Don McGahn, which was also issued as part of the dormant impeachment inquiry.
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