The Supreme Court Postpones Hearing On Mueller Report

Topline

The Supreme Court has agreed to the House of Representatives’ request to postpone a hearing into the Democrats’ request for grand jury materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election that the Department of Justice will not release. 

Key Facts

Douglas Letter, the general counsel for the House of Representatives, filed a motion for delay with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking for the argument to be postponed until after President-elect Joe Biden and the new Congress members are in office in January.

Letter said the new House Committee on the Judiciary will need to reevaluate if it wants to move forward. 

Letter said the committee has continued to investigate alleged misconduct by Trump and, in a May court filing, said it needed access to see if Trump obstructed justice and committed other impeachable offenses and said it would consider forging a new impeachment effort. 

Key Background

The committee filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in July 2019 after Attorney General William Barr refused to hand over an unredacted copy of Mueller’s report. The committee argued that federal law requires grand jury material to be shared in advance of litigation and said a Senate impeachment trial qualifies. Two lower courts agreed the committee should have access to the materials. The Department of Justice argued the decision could disrupt the precedent for how grand jury materials are handled in the future and said the secrecy could be compromised once the documents were handed over to the House. The committee could vote to release the information to the public. The Supreme Court put the lower court’s decision on hold in May, blocking the committee from accessing the unredacted materials. The Supreme Court agreed to the Department of Justice’s request to review the lower court’s decision this July and the date was set for next month. At the time, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that Trump and Barr were “continuing to try to run out the clock on any and all accountability.” He said the Department of Justice for every other administration has cooperated with the committee’s requests for grand jury materials for investigations of possible impeachable offenses. 

Further Reading

Motion

Supreme Court Grants Trump Request, Blocks Congress From Mueller Materials (Forbes)

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Case Over Mueller Grand Jury Docs (Forbes)

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