The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday unveiled the planned oral argument in a House committee’s legal battle to obtain documents from the Robert Mueller special inquiry into President Donald Trump.
With a request from attorneys for the House of Representatives, the court removed the argument, originally scheduled for Dec. 2, from the calendar. The case involves a lawsuit filed by the House Judicial Committee that seeks to obtain documents related to Trump compiled by Mueller’s special team.
In a letter to the court, House lawyers said the documents – which the committee originally sought for its prosecution investigation ̵
A new Congress will be convened in the first week of January 2021, and President-elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021. Once these events have taken place, the newly formed committee will decide whether to continue pursuing the application for the great jury materials that gave rise to this case, ”said their letter.
The Justice Department said it was willing to continue the argument as planned before the court removed the case from the December calendar.
When Mueller’s work ended in March 2019, the Department of Justice sent a version of its final report to Congress, but it edited or obscured references to information collected by the Mueller Grand Jury. The House Judiciary Committee asked a federal judge for an order instructing the Department of Justice to hand over an unedited copy of the report along with some of the documents and interviews referred to in the dark topics.
Negotiations with a federal grand jury are secret, including its findings and any material generated during its investigations. But there are some exceptions. Courts are allowed to publish when they find that the material will be used “initially for or in connection with a lawsuit.” Two lower courts ruled that the Judiciary Committee is covered by this exception, arguing that an indictment of the House is preliminary to a Senate trial, which is a trial.
The Justice Department maintained that the exceptions to the rules of secrecy do not apply, saying “The general meaning of ‘trial’ is a court proceeding, not an indictment of elected lawmakers.” But Parliament said it is covered by the exemption, noting that the Constitution says the Senate has the sole power to “try” all charges, requires the Supreme Court to preside and refers to a “judgment” in case of a charge .
At the moment, the Supreme Court case remains alive, but it is likely to be dropped early next year.