By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press |
WASHINGTON – A judge on Friday ordered the Justice Department to give the House secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, handing a victory to Democrats who want it for the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.
The ruling from Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell says that while the department had argued that existing law barred it from sharing the materials with Congress, “DOJ 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 that varies from what they tell” the House Judiciary Committee, Howell wrote.
Justice Department lawyers argued at a hearing earlier this month that House Democrats already had sufficient evidence from Mueller’s investigation, including copies of summaries of FBI witness interviews.
The department had also argued that the House panel didn’t have a sufficient explanation for how the material would help in the committee’s investigations of Trump, and that impeachment isn’t a “judicial proceeding” under the law, for which the information could be disclosed.