WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee on Friday said it was asking a federal judge to unseal grand jury secrets related to Robert Mueller’s investigation, saying it would use the court filing to make the most explicit declaration yet that lawmakers are weighing whether to impeach President Donald Trump.In a significant escalation, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, said at a news conference that the application to the court will declare that the panel needs access to Mueller’s grand-jury evidence — such as witness testimony — to decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president.“Because Department of Justice policies will not allow prosecution of a sitting president, the United States House of Representatives is the only institution of the federal government that can now hold President Trump accountable for these actions,” Nadler quoted the legal filing as telling the judge, Beryl A. Howell, who supervised Mueller’s grand jury.
Representative Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, center, speaks during a news conference with Representative Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, left, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, July 26, 2019.
Andrew Harrer /
Referring to the part in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to impeach and remove a president, the application continues, he said: “To do so, the House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — recommendation of articles of impeachment.”Still, his account of the pending filing, which he said would be filed Friday afternoon, stopped short of explicitly declaring that it has formally opened an impeachment inquiry.Democrats have been divided about whether the House should formally declare that the committee is conducting an impeachment inquiry.
Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, speaks as Representative Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, left, listens during a news conference with Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, July 26, 2019.
Andrew Harrer /
More than 90 House Democrats have said they support opening such proceedings.Others fear it could provoke a backlash, firing up Trump’s supporters and endangering newly elected Democrats who won moderate districts in the 2018 midterm.The specific information at issue in the court filing are the portions in the Mueller report that were redacted because the information fell under a rule in the federal criminal code that makes information presented to a grand jury secret. That rule has only limited exceptions to share it with outsiders. Democrats want the House to gain access to the redacted portions of the report, as well as the underlying transcripts and documents that Mueller used a grand jury to gather.