The Supreme Court just overturned two lower court rulings and blocked House Democrats getting the unredacted Mueller report:
The Supreme Court blocked House Democrats from getting access to confidential materials from Mueller’s Russia investigation https://t.co/ZP340ztOSq
— Bloomberg (@business) May 20, 2020
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked House Democrats for now from getting access to confidential materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, granting a request from President Donald Trump’s administration.
The order, which came Wednesday without noted dissent, raises new doubts about whether Democrats will see the information anytime soon, if at all. The order applies until the court acts on an appeal the administration has promised to file.
The court gave the Trump administration until June 1 to file the appeal, putting the case on a fast track that will let the justices say by July whether they will take up the case. Arguments would likely be in October at the earliest, meaning any ruling would come too late to help Democrats in the November election.
Two lower courts had ordered Justice Department officials to turn over redacted parts of Mueller’s 448-page report, along with underlying grand jury transcripts and exhibits.
The administration says a federal trial judge lacked power to unseal the information. Grand jury materials are normally sealed, but federal rules let a judge authorize disclosure for “judicial proceedings.” The key legal question is whether that includes House impeachment inquiries.
A federal appeals court ruled that impeachment proceedings qualified, saying courts had let lawmakers see grand jury materials during the impeachment inquiries of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to put that ruling on hold.
“The government will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay,” Francisco argued. “Once the government discloses the secret grand-jury records, their secrecy will irrevocably be lost.”
Remember, AG Barr had to ask Trump to use executive privilege to keep the unredacted Mueller report out of the hands of Nadler’s Judiciary Committee. Before that Barr has made clear that the law didn’t allow him to release the unredacted version of the report. But Democrats forced his hand and that’s why it’s now in court. And it looks now that Democrats have lost their bid to override Trump’s executive privilege, at least until after the election. That’s assuming the Supreme Court takes up the appeal, which it sounds like they will.