Appeals Court Says Congress Exists, Can See Whatever Mueller Grand Jury Sh*t It Wants
Know how we are impeaching Donald Trump forever a whole bunch of times, even though we already did it once? Well!
A three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the House of Representatives absolutely is entitled to see the redacted Rule 6(e) grand jury information in Bill Barr's heavily redacted Mueller Report. They ruled this way even though Trump has already been impeached (once), noting that the House Judiciary Committee in its impeachment report specifically said that despite the adoption of two Ukraine-related articles of impeachment, its impeachment investigation continues.
You'll remember just last week a judge popped Attorney General Bill Barr right on his roly-poly fanny, for being such a liar about what was in the Mueller Report. We only note that to make clear that this is a different case about a different thing. That's a FOIA case. This is the House's case, again, for the grand jury information in the Mueller Report. District Court Judge Beryl Howell ruled for the House several months back.
Among the questions the House seeks to answer: Did Trump lie to Mueller in his written answers, particularly about whether he had foreknowledge of the Russian WikiLeaks releases from Roger Stone? Yes, or OMG yes?
Now you might be curious to know who these three appeals court judges are — are they NOBUMMER JUDGES, which, in Trump's America, are obviously illegal? No, actually! One of the panel, Judith Rogers, who wrote the ruling, is a total lib Clinton appointee. However, the guy who concurred with her, Thomas Griffith, is a conservative appointed by Gee Dubya Bush.
The dissenting judge was problematic weirdass idiot Trump appointee Neomi Rao. This appointment is Rao's first time at judging, but she has written several articles defending "dwarf-tossing," so hashtag BEST PEOPLE! Rao has really been working hard to protect Donald Trump and keep him firmly esconced above the law, particularly regarding his financials. In short, she's pretty great. (Elections have consequences, especially on the question of "Who gets to be judge?" VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO, ASSHOLES.)
In oral arguments back in October, Trump's Department of Justice lawyers advanced some novel "legal" theories, on top of their longrunning "legal" theory that Congress does not exist and is therefore not Donald Trump's real dad. They said, in so many words, that NIXON GOT A RAW DEAL GRRR ARGH! and that if the famous Watergate road map case, Haldeman v. Sirica, had happened in the modern times, it would have gone differently because of how everything has changed.
They forgot to explain how everything has changed.
"Wow, OK," Judge Beryl Howell said several months back, to the DOJ lawyer who said that out loud with their mouth. Rogers's majority opinion at the appeals court can also be shortly summarized as "Wow, OK."
She notes in her ruling that Robert Mueller's very report states that it was prepared "with the expectation that Congress would review it," and he meant all of it. She writes that his report "stopped short of making any 'ultimate conclusions about the President's conduct,'" because of how Congress is the one with the "sole power of impeachment." (Which means Congress exists! And is Trump's real dad!) She says, citing much precedent, that district courts "are to hand off all relevant materials to Congress without micromanaging the evidence." In other words, if Congress is doing an impeachment investigation, that is a judicial proceeding, and if Congress needs the evidence, then GIVE THEM IT.
Rogers quotes the Sirica Watergate Road Map case, which said the public must be assured Congress is doing an "unswervingly fair inquiry based on all the pertinent information." She cites the 11th Circuit in the impeachment of Judge (now Congressman) Alcee Hastings, which wrote that "without full access to the grand jury materials, the public may not have confidence that the Congress considered all relevant evidence."
As for the dissent, well, you know! It's pretty great.
While her colleagues cited LOTS and LOTS of precedent, Judge Neomi Rao cited a dead rat in the corner wearing a MAGA hat. OK, we are just fooling, but she is very concerned about whether the District Court actually has the authority to give grand jury information to Congress. She also argues that while the House may have the sole power of impeachment, the Senate is the true "court" of impeachment, therefore the House's ongoing impeachment investigation is not really a "judicial proceeding" of the kind that requires the Court hand over grand jury information. Moreover, she says the Senate ACQUITTED TRUMP 4EVERANDEVER! therefore NO IMPEACH, NO IMPEACH, YOU ARE THE IMPEACH!
Judge Griffith's entire concurring opinion is about calling Rao an idiot, but in much nicer and professional judicial terms than Wonkette uses.
It's not all over yet: The Department of Justice might ask for an en banc hearing at the appeals court, or it might appeal directly to the Supreme Court. But even the Trump Supreme Court would have a hard time ruling against the House on this one, since the only thing they can really cite is Neomi Rao's rat in the MAGA hat, whereas everything in the majority's ruling is, like, actual law.
One of these days we're going to get to the full truth! And Congress might get there sooner than we think.
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