The US Supreme Court on Wednesday handed the Trump administration a win - blocking a request by the House Judiciary Committee for grand jury material gathered by Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation. The court issued a stay while an appeal over the records plays out.
That said, the court put the case on a fast track, giving the Trump administration until June 1 to file its appeal, which Bloomberg infers to mean that the court will likely announce before the end of June or July whether it will hear arguments late this year.
Earlier this year, DOJ officials were ordered by two lower courts to hand over redacted portions of Mueller's 448-page report at the request of the House committee chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) - who argued that they 'urgently' needed to see redacted materials.
The administration says a federal trial judge lacked power to unseal the information. Grand jury materials are normally sealed, but federal rules let a judge authorize disclosure for “judicial proceedings.” The key legal question is whether that includes House impeachment inquiries.
A federal appeals court ruled that impeachment proceedings qualified, saying courts had let lawmakers see grand jury materials during the impeachment inquiries of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. U.S. Solicitor GeneralNoel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to put that ruling on hold.
“The government will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay,” Francisco argued. “Once the government discloses the secret grand-jury records, their secrecy will irrevocably be lost.”
House General Counsel Douglas Letter countered that lawmakers had already waited more than a year for the information. -Bloomberg
"The committee and the public continue to suffer grave and irreparable injury each additional day the district court’s order is prevented from going into effect," wrote the House General Counsel, adding "The committee is being deprived of the information it needs to exercise its weighty constitutional responsibility."
The records were originally sought as part of the impeachment inquiry last year, before Democrats hit a dead end and impeached Trump over his communications with the Ukrainian president regarding an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden. The impeachment effort was stopped in the GOP-controlled Senate.