Justices put off case over access to Russia probe grand jury

Elias Hubbard
November 22, 2020

The move comes two days after the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee asked the Supreme Court to delay oral arguments in the case, citing presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden's election victory and the start of a new Congress in January. It's not immediately clear if the arguments will be rescheduled for a later date or have been dropped altogether.

Douglas Letter, the top lawyer for the House, had told the court in a written filing that the House Judiciary Committee that takes office in January "will have to determine whether it wishes to continue pursuing the application for the grand-jury materials that gave rise to this case".

The secret sections of the special counsel's report that the House wants to access are separate from the material the Justice Department released detailing some of the evidence aired at the trial of Roger Stone, an associate of President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee asked a federal judge for an order directing the Justice Department to hand over an unredacted copy of the report along with some of the documents and interviews referred to in the blacked out items.

A Supreme Court spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The judiciary committee has been fighting for the redacted grand jury materials since summer 2019 as part of its investigation into Russian electoral interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

Acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, representing the Trump administration, did not oppose the request.

Mueller's team found insufficient evidence to conclude that the Trump campaign conspired with Russian Federation and neither exonerated nor accused Trump of obstructing justice - writing in its report, "If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so". Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president's efforts to fire him amounted to obstruction.

The Justice Department said it was willing to carry on with the argument as scheduled before the court removed the case from the December calendar. Courts are allowed to authorize disclosure when they find the material would be used "preliminary to or in connection with a judicial proceeding".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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