DOJ asks Supreme Court to block Democrats' access to Mueller documents

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision granting House Democrats access to redacted grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s Russia probe.

The Monday filing serves as the Trump administration’s formal appeal of a March order to hand over secret transcripts and exhibits that Democratic leaders of the House Judiciary Committee initially sought as part of the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE.

The justices previously granted the administration’s request to halt the disclosure order, issued by a divided three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, from taking effect to allow time for an appeal.

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In its filing, DOJ lawyers urged the justices to take up the case and to prevent an unwarranted breach of grand jury secrecy.

"In light of the national prominence of this grand-jury investigation, the separation-of-powers concerns raised by the decision below, and the potential damage that decision could inflict on 'the proper functioning of our grand jury system,' this Court’s review is warranted," they wrote. 

Democrats have long argued the additional information would provide a more complete picture of Mueller’s findings related to Trump’s alleged obstruction of the former special counsel as well as his 2016 campaign’s interactions with Russian government officials.

At the conclusion of his nearly two-year probe in March 2019, Mueller did not establish that the Trump campaign criminally coordinated with Moscow. He declined to say if the president obstructed justice, but Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBarr praises Seattle police chief as officers clear protest zone Judge strikes down Trump administration rule denying asylum to most migrants at southern border Supreme Court declines challenge to DOJ execution method MORE and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRepublicans release newly declassified intelligence document on FBI source Steele GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst Graham postpones Russia probe subpoena vote as tensions boil over MORE concluded he had not.

In March, a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 that the House's impeachment inquiry was a justified basis to request the sealed documents.