- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A federal appeals court put on hold a lower court order that had mandated the Justice Department turn over grand jury material from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe to aid House Democrats in their impeachment inquiry.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia granted the Justice Department’s request to delay any disclosure of documents as the administration appealed last week’s ruling which had said the Justice Department must turn over the material by Wednesday.

The House Democrats sought documents sans redactions, exhibits from the report and any testimony related to the president’s knowledge of Russia’s attempted interference with the 2016 election, including any knowledge of crimes committed by his campaign officials.

Administration lawyers have pushed back against the subpoena for the information sought specifically by the House Judiciary Committee.

Judge Beryl A. Howell, an Obama appointee, said last week it was fair for the Democrats to have all relevant material to the special counsel’s probe into the Trump campaign and alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election for their impeachment inquiry.

She said the Justice Department’s argument that existing law bars the release of grand jury material is “wrong.”

“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,” Judge Howell wrote in the original court order.

But the circuit court clerk’s order Tuesday put that decision on hold — at least for now. The clerk said parties should continue briefing the issue through Nov. 5.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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