U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court will consider disclosure of Mueller grand jury materials to Congress

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Robert Mueller in 2012. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to decide whether the House Judiciary Committee may access redacted grand jury materials referenced in the report by former special counsel Robert Mueller.

The case is unlikely to be heard before the 2020 presidential election, report SCOTUSblog, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

The House committee is seeking materials on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice in Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference in 2016. The committee said in a brief that its obstruction probe continues.

“For example, the committee is investigating the possible exercise of improper political influence over recent decisions made in the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn prosecutions, both of which were initiated by the special counsel,” the brief said.

The Department of Justice had overruled the sentencing recommendation of Stone’s prosecutors, deeming it to be excessive. The DOJ moved to dismiss Flynn’s prosecution, even though he had previously pleaded guilty.

The House committee had opposed certiorari after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in its favor in March.

The D.C. Circuit said the committee could see the documents under an exception in the federal rules that allows disclosure of grand jury materials “preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.”

The Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether an impeachment trial constitutes a judicial proceeding under the federal rules.

The Supreme Court temporarily stayed the appeals court decision in May to allow the government time to file a cert petition and the high court time to decide the case, if it grants cert. Arguments are likely to be heard in the fall, according to the press coverage.

The case is Department of Justice v. House Committee on the Judiciary. The SCOTUSblog case page is here.

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