A federal appeals court in Washington ruled that the Justice Department must release secret grand jury evidence to congressional Democrats, in their ongoing investigations into President Trump, according to the Washington Post.
Secret material from Robert S. Mueller III”s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election must be disclosed to the House, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled on Tuesday.
While the 2-1 decision can be appealed to the full court or to the Supreme Court, the ruling is a victory for Democratic lawmakers.
The appeals court reviewed an earlier ruling from Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell, who found that the House was legally engaged in a judicial process, which exempted Congress from secrecy rules that typically shield grand jury materials from being disclosed.
The lawsuit was filed before the formal start of the impeachment inquiry centered around Trump’s alleged effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, but House lawyers said that lawmakers are still trying to determine whether Trump lied to Mueller’s investigators.
Lawmakers argued that they needed access to the material in order to establish a pattern of the president’s conduct.