Appeals Court to Review Order to Release Mueller Grand Jury Material to Congress

WASHINGTON (The Washington Post) -
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals in the Judiciary Square neighborhood of Washington, D.C. (AgnosticPreachersKid)

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., will consider next week whether the Justice Department must release to Congress certain grand jury materials from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced Thursday that it would hold oral argument Nov. 12 to review a ruling from last month that requires disclosure of the secret material the House Judiciary Committee is seeking in its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

In her ruling last month, Judge Beryl Howell, chief of the U.S. District Court in Washington, found the House was legally engaged in a judicial process that exempts Congress from grand jury secrecy rules.

The Justice Department, which opposes release of the information, quickly appealed.

The three-judge panel reviewing Howell’s decision next week is made up of Judges Thomas Griffith, Neomi Rao and Judith Rogers.

The fast-moving case is one of several clashes between Congress and the Trump administration over access to documents and witnesses related to the House investigation of the president.

The Judiciary Committee went to court in July seeking an order for the release of redacted portions of Mueller’s 448-page final report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as grand jury materials cited or referenced by the report.

In her 75-page opinion, Howell said the committee and the House, in determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment, are serving like a grand jury.

“In carrying out the weighty constitutional duty of determining whether impeachment of the President is warranted, Congress need not redo the nearly two years of effort spent on the Special Counsel’s investigation, nor risk being misled by witnesses, who may have provided information to the grand jury and the Special Counsel that varies from what they tell” the House, Howell wrote.