USAToday reports House Democrats told the Supreme Court that it needs grand jury evidence from the Russia probe as they continue to investigate whether President Donald Trump had committed additional impeachable offenses.
In a court filing Monday, the House Judiciary Committee said the secret grand jury evidence gathered by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation “is central” to its inquiry into possible obstruction of justice by the president. “If this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses … the Committee will proceed accordingly – including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” Douglas Letter, the House’s general counsel, wrote.
Per Breitbart the saga began in 2019, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller determined that there had been no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. When he released his report, however, Mueller submitted two volumes — one on the collusion investigation, and one on a separate obstruction of justice investigation. Though he made no recommendation for prosecution, Democrats seized on the latter as providing the basis for potentially impeaching Trump for obstruction.
Democrats also claimed that certain redactions in the report must have hidden relevant information — though they declined to read a less redacted version. They also demanded access to material that Mueller had shown a grand jury. Normally grand jury proceedings are secret, and so Attorney General William Barr, citing federal law, declined the Democrats’ request. They then held him in contempt of Congress, and took their case for the materials to federal court.
The case made its way through the courts, and Democrats won at the D.C. Circuit. The Department of Justice appealed to the Supreme Court on May 7, and Chief Justice Roberts put a temporary hold on the grand jury materials on May 8.
In their court filing, the Democrats complain that further delays in the release of the grand jury materials would make it impossible for them to impeach the president again before Congress’s term ends:
If DOJ’s request for a stay is granted, DOJ need not file its certiorari petition until August 2020, and therefore this Court likely would not determine whether to grant or deny that petition until at least October 2020. This substantial delay will seriously endanger the Committee’s ability to complete its impeachment investigation during the current Congress— which ends not long thereafter on January 3, 2021.
Republicans could take over Congress on that date if they win 17 seats from Democrats.