Appeals court won't halt order for DOJ to hand over sealed Mueller documents

A federal appeals court said it wouldn't put a hold on its order for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide redacted grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation to Congress, but extended the deadline to allow the administration to appeal.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Trump administration until May 11 to seek a stay from the Supreme Court, denying the DOJ's request for a longer stay. The order was set to go into effect on Friday.

The move essentially leaves it up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to halt the order to hand over the materials.


The Justice Department had told the court that it intends to petition the Supreme Court to hear the case after a D.C. Circuit panel ruled that the House Judiciary Committee was entitled to the sealed materials as part of its impeachment inquiry.

"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 in a filing last month.

A three-judge panel on the circuit court had ruled 2-1 earlier this year that the House investigation justified the lawmakers obtaining the special counsel materials they were seeking.

"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, a Clinton appointee, wrote in an opinion for the majority.

"Special Counsel Mueller prepared his Report with the expectation that Congress would review it," Rogers added.


The document request is part of a handful that have led to a surge in court fights between the Democratic-led House and the Trump administration.

This week, the D.C. Circuit scrutinized the Justice Department's position that congressional subpoenas are essentially legally unenforceable, in a case challenging a House subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a set of cases revolving around subpoenas for President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE's tax returns.