Despite the Senate acquittal of President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial earlier this year, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are still searching for new charges to bring and admitted as much to the U.S. Supreme Court this week.
“The [House Judiciary] Committee’s impeachment investigation related to obstruction of justice pertaining to the Russia investigation is ongoing.” That statement by House Dems was contained in a court filing with the nation’s highest court over a dispute concerning access to the secret grand jury proceedings conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller over alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.
Although the Mueller Report (“Report”) was made public, it was done so with certain redactions related to the underlying grand jury proceedings. Federal grand jury proceedings are by law held in secret in order to protect the investigative process and any innocent targets of the proceedings, among other reasons.
Although House Judiciary members were allowed to view the unredacted Report, they eventually asked the federal courts to grant them access to the Mueller grand jury materials as well. In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered that access to the grand jury materials be granted, citing the ongoing impeachment process as the reason for breaking the usual secrecy rules surrounding grand juries.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which has insisted that the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings be maintained, then asked the Supreme Court to take a look at the case, and in the process asked the court to temporarily release the government from any obligation to produce the grand jury materials until such time as the justices decided whether or not to hear the government’s appeal.
That latter request was opposed by House Democrats in Monday’s filing of legal papers with the court arguing that the need for the materials as part of its ongoing impeachment investigations was important enough that no further delay was warranted.
There is no word yet on when the Supreme Court might act in response to DOJ’s request.