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Obama Judge Signals Dems May Get Secret Grand Jury Material in Mueller Report

Posted on 08 October 2019

Robert Mueller

Federal Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama appointee on Tuesday signaled her support for House Democrats who are fiercely fighting to get their hands on the grand jury material currently redacted in Mueller’s report.

House Democrats filed a lawsuit in late July arguing they need the secret grand jury material from Robert Mueller as part of their ‘impeachment investigation’ into President Trump.

Lawyers for House Democrats sparred with Justice Department lawyers on Tuesday in court over the secret grand jury material.

Lawyers for House Dems argued that Trump’s impeachment isn’t just about Ukraine.

“I can’t emphasize enough — it’s not just Ukraine,” House counsel Doug Letter said, adding that the Judiciary Committee “could easily” adopt articles of impeachment against Trump that deal with the Mueller-related themes of obstruction of justice and election interference

Elizabeth Shapiro, the lead DOJ lawyer argued that the Democrats should be denied access to the grand jury materials because the Dems have not held a full House vote on impeachment and therefore do not meet the criteria.

The judge did agree with Shapiro and said that the House voting on impeachment would “make my life very much easier” in approving the release of the grand jury materials.

The judge however signaled she would likely give the House Democrats the grand jury materials.

Politico reported:

During a two-plus hour hearing, Beryl Howell, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court, pointedly challenged the Justice Department to explain its “extraordinary position” of trying to block lawmakers from seeing the special counsel’s grand jury materials, which include testimony and evidence that has been kept private since the Mueller probe ended in March. Grand jury material is protected by law, but judges can release information under special circumstances.

Howell on Tuesday said that under both Supreme Court and federal appellate court precedent, she must give “enormous deference” to House Democrats and their interest in the grand jury materials because of their impeachment inquiry. She even indicated that the impeachment probe was a precursor for releasing the Mueller materials.

Shockingly, the lawyer for House Dems, Doug Letter, argued to the judge that President Trump can be impeached without committing a crime.

Howell also asked Letter point-blank whether a president could be impeached for lying to the public.

“I believe so, yes, absolutely,” he replied. And she asked if Trump needed to have committed a crime to be impeached. “No, he does not,” the House lawyer answered.

Judge Howell is expected to release an order later this evening on what further materials need to be submitted to the Court.

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