TLDRUpFront: Common practice is to hold grand jury testimony secret, though one exception applies to an impeachment inquiry. The House and White House went to court over the House’s request to access secret grand jury materials. Trump’s legal team argued that House proceedings were not legitimate, resulting in a judicial finding of fact that they are. This settles, at least in the legal context, whether the House inquiry is legitimate. This ruling is subject to appeal.
FullContext in the Back:
This may be of interest to many who have asked about the question of the legality, fairness, or process of the impeachment inquiry occurring in the House.
Today a district court judge ruled that the impeachment proceedings are legal and proceeding appropriately, creating a legal ‘fact’ on the nature of the impeachment inquiry and its processes.
This finding allows the House Judiciary committee to receive the withheld portion of the Mueller report, including grand jury testimony. Though this is subject to appeal and is only a secondary part of the Mueller transcript release case writ large, it has broad ramifications to the current political debate being waged by Republicans that the proceedings are unfair or illegitimate.
The key legal context of the Mueller case before the District Court of Columbia is that normally grand jury inquiries are not discoverable by Congress as they are secret. There is a precedent for exception however, which is if they are being requested as part of a Presidential impeachment case, a precedent set by the Supreme Court during the Nixon impeachment. This set up an argument by President Trump’s legal team that the current impeachment inquiry was not legitimate, and thus cannot benefit from that precedent. Which resulted in this finding of fact by the judge that the impeachment inquiry is legitimate and is proceeding in accordance with established House rules.
Trump’s team, in choosing their defensive -legal- strategy set in motion a series of events where a legal ruling has been made (again subject to appeal) that the method, process, and authority of the impeachment inquiry is legally legitimate and within accordance of all rules. Thus, undercutting their entire -public- strategy in undermining the impeachment. This also now establishes the fact, again until a higher court overrules it, that the impeachment inquiry is legitimate, and Democrats can simply point to this finding as an established finding on any subsequent questions from House or Senate GOP.
I’ve attached two sources. One is the ‘plain-English’ description of what just happened. But the first document is the actual ruling by the Judge. It’s 74pages long, but I strongly encourage the reading of the “Discussion” portion and “Conclusion.” Reading District Court and Appeals rulings is a great way to better inform ourselves on the actual matters of law, precedent, and Constitutional limits within our legal system. And even when I disagree with the rulings, I’ve always found District and Appellate court findings some of the most informative documents to provide a background context on relevant issues, a summary of the arguments, the pros and cons of each argument, and then a legal reasoning why one argument prevails over the other.
Court ruling on legality of impeachment inquiry.
Plain English version:
Original Facebook Post: www.facebook.com/tim.clancy.313/posts/10211186829947173