‘The Committee remains committed to holding the President accountable to the rule of law and preventing improper interference…’
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that the House was permitted to access secret grand-jury material from the Mueller investigation. It was redacted in the special counsel’s final report, which concluded a year ago this month.
Mueller’s extensive investigation, lasting approximately two years (not counting a year prior by the FBI) and costing an estimated $30 million, determined there was insufficient evidence to present charges against President Donald Trump related to conspiracy theories that he had colluded with the Kremlin to turn the election against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Many of the theories originated with Clinton, whose campaign commissioned the now-debunked Steele Dossier and helped steer its salacious rumors within the federal bureaucracy and left-wing media outlets.
Following Mueller’s disastrous testimony before the House last July, Democrats immediately scuttled their efforts to pursue the matter further, focusing instead on impeaching Trump by alleging he abused his power in Ukraine, a former Soviet satellite that is now at war with Russia.
“The Justice Department has consistently provided grand jury material to the Committee in past investigations involving Presidential misconduct—but Attorney General [William] Barr chose to break from that long-standing practice, and DOJ radically altered its position in an attempt to withhold this information,” Nadler claimed, according to CNN.
“The court today correctly rejected DOJ’s arguments and held that the Committee is entitled to these materials,” Nadeler, the House Judiciary chairman, added. “The Committee remains committed to holding the President accountable to the rule of law and preventing improper interference in law enforcement investigations,” Nadler added.
The latest fishing expedition is likely to pursue accusations—for which Mueller declined prosecution—that Trump obstructed justice in the probe.
However, the president’s supporters have contended that since there was no underlying crime in the partisan smear campaign, Trump was justified in refusing to cooperate with some aspects of it. Nonetheless, he submitted written responses.
Several Trump associates were ultimately ensnared in perjury traps by the biased FBI officials, including self-declared “resistance” operatives who went on to work for Mueller.
A report by the Justice Department inspector general last December found 17 examples of serious FBI misconduct in its pursuit of warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. A criminal investigation remains ongoing.
Nonetheless, Nadler and others sought to find inconsistencies in Trump’s written responses and the testimony of other witnesses, much of which was redacted in the final Mueller report.
Despite the divisive, failed effort to remove Trump on the Ukraine charges, House Democrats have indicated that they would be open to an impeachment do-over.
While CNN suggested that the grand-jury testimony would remain confidential—the primary concern of the Justice Department in blocking its release—granting access to Schiff, Nadler and others likely ensures that it will be leaked anonymously to CNN, The New York Times and others, regardless of what it yields.
Even so, the three-member circuit-court panel decided in the 2-1 vote to break with tradition of avoiding judicial intervention in other branches.
“As gatekeepers of grand jury information, we cannot sit this one out,” said the opinion.
“The House isn’t seeking our help in eliciting executive-branch testimony or documents,” it said. “Instead, it’s seeking access to grand jury records whose disclosure the district court, by both tradition and law, controls.”