With all that’s dominating the news cycle right now, the fact that Democrats were busy planning another impeachment push has largely gone unnoticed. That’s exactly what they’ve been doing though, relying on the idea that secret grand jury testimony from the Mueller investigation would provide them with the smoking bullet they need.
Well, they can put their dreams on hold, because the Supreme Court just essentially shelved the issue until after the election.
BREAKING: SCOTUS denies House Judiciary Comm Dems' request for Mueller grand jury material – grants DOJ request. Writ for cert (for SCOTUS to hear the full case on the merits) due by June 1st or stay expires – meaning materials could be released.
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) May 20, 2020
Here’s Fox News with more on the decision.
The Supreme Court temporarily denied a motion Wednesday from House Democrats to obtain grand-jury testimony and other documents from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as they conduct what they’ve referred to as an “ongoing presidential impeachment investigation” into President Trump.
The court’s order kept undisclosed details from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election out of the Democrats’ hands until at least early summer. Democrats have until June 1 to brief the court about whether the full case should be heard.
The Democrats had told the court Monday they were in an “ongoing presidential impeachment investigation” while arguing that Mueller’s now-completed Russia probe needed to be turned over as a result.
The DOJ now has until June 1st to submit a writ of certiorari requesting the case be taken up. Given the magnitude of it and the politics at play, there’s a near certainty that the court will hear the case, meaning even if they win, Democrats won’t see these documents until after the election.
There are several things to comment on here, not the least of which is that the idea that there’s a smoking gun in the Mueller grand jury testimony is laughable. If such evidence existed, Mueller and his partisan hounds would have used it to charge (rhetorically or legally) that collusion and obstruction definitively happened. There is zero chance that a hack like Andrew Weissmann sat idly by while there was actual evidence present that could nail Trump.
No, what Democrats actually want here is a bunch of gossip that wasn’t useful in the investigation but that they can leak to the media. Then the media can spin wild narratives and reprise the role they held for the years prior to the Mueller report’s release.
But even putting their political motives aside, there’s no real justification for Democrats having access to this material. Grand jury testimony is secret for several reasons, chief of which is so the government can’t use it to slander people. That’s exactly what Pelosi and company want to use it for. They are under no illusions that they can prove a crime that Mueller couldn’t. This is all politics and it’s incredibly transparent.
Allowing the House access to testimony that they will then promptly use to influence the election would set an awful precedent, one I doubt the Supreme Court wants to be a part of.