Committee on the Judiciary v. United States Department of Justice, No. 19-5288 (D.C. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Committee seeks to obtain the redacted grand jury materials referenced in the Special Counsel's Report in connection with its impeachment investigation of President Trump. The Committee requested three categories of grand jury materials: (1) all portions of the Mueller Report that were redacted pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e); (2) any portions of grand jury transcripts or exhibits referenced in those redactions; and (3) any underlying grand jury testimony and exhibits that relate directly to certain individuals and events described in the Mueller Report. The district court authorized disclosure of the first two categories of requested information and stated that the Committee could file additional requests articulating its particularized need for the third category of information.
The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's decision authorizing disclosure of the grand jury materials under the "judicial proceeding" exception in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(3)(E)(i). The court held that a Senate impeachment trial qualifies as a "judicial proceeding" under the rule. The court also held that the Committee has established a "particularized need" for the grand jury materials. The court wrote that Counsel Mueller prepared his Report with the expectation that Congress would review it; the district court released only those materials that the Special Counsel found sufficiently relevant to discuss or cite in his Report; the Department has already released information in the Report that was redacted to avoid harm to peripheral third parties and to ongoing investigations, thereby reducing the need for continued secrecy; and the Committee's particularized need for the grand jury materials remains unchanged. In this case, the Committee has repeatedly stated that if the grand jury materials reveal new evidence of impeachable offenses, the Committee may recommend new articles of impeachment.