The House of Representatives won a court case granting them access to secret materials gathered by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The 2-1 decision came in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and the appeals court sided with the DC District Court on Tuesday.
Though the Department of Justice can still appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, Tuesday’s ruling was important in cementing the October ruling of the district court. In that ruling — which was handed down in October — Chief Judge Beryl Howell wrote in her decision, “The Department of Justice claims that existing law bars disclosure to the Congress of grand jury information … DOJ is wrong.”
After the District Court ruling siding with the House Judiciary Committee, the Department of Justice requested a stay (which was ultimately granted), arguing, “A stay is warranted because, without a stay, the department will be irreparably harmed. Once that information is disclosed, it cannot be recalled, and the confidentiality of the grand jury information will be lost for all time.”
The majority opinion says the judiciary committee has demonstrated a need for the materials from Mueller’s Russia investigation, and that the lawmakers were engaged in a legal proceeding that would permit the release of the grand jury evidence.— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) March 10, 2020
The ruling can be appealed.
In the Tuesday ruling, the judges who sided with the House Judiciary Committee were appointed by George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The judge who ruled with Trump’s DOJ was a Trump appointee, according to Bloomberg News.
In their ruling, the Appeals court noted, “Although the need for continued secrecy remains, the district court reasonably concluded that this need is reduced by the Committee’s adoption of special protocols to restrict access to the grand jury materials in order to maintain their secrecy.”
The ruling follows another ruling last week in a Freedom of Information Act court case brought by Buzzfeed and EPIC in which U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said that the circumstances highlighted “Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility.”