Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill, in Washington, in a July 24, 2019, file photo.

The Associated Press

The Justice Department must give Congress secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, giving the House a significant win in a separation-of-powers clash with the Trump administration.

The three-judge panel said in a 2-1 opinion that the House Judiciary Committee’s need for the material in its investigations of President Donald Trump outweighed the Justice Department’s interests in keeping the testimony secret. The opinion authorizes access to information that Democrats have sought since the conclusion of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, giving lawmakers previously-undisclosed details from the two-year Russia probe.

Writing for the majority, Justice Judith Rogers said that because Mr. Mueller himself “stopped short” of reaching conclusions about Mr. Trump’s conduct to avoid stepping on the House’s impeachment power, the committee had established that it could not make a final determination about Mr. Trump’s conduct without access to the underlying grand jury material.

Story continues below advertisement

“The Committee’s request for the grand jury materials in the Mueller Report is directly linked to its need to evaluate the conclusions reached and not reached by the Special Counsel,” wrote Justice Rogers, a Clinton appointee.

Judge Thomas Griffith issued a separate concurring opinion. Justice Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, dissented, suggesting that the need for the testimony could have waned after Mr. Trump’s acquittal at a Senate impeachment trial last month.

“After all, the Committee sought these materials preliminary to an impeachment proceeding and the Senate impeachment trial has concluded. Why is this controversy not moot?” Justice Rao wrote.

It is unclear when the materials might actually be turned over. The Trump administration can ask the full appeals court to rehear the case, and can appeal to the Supreme Court.

The ruling softens the blow of a loss the House endured two weeks ago when judges on the same court said they would not force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress. The split decisions leave neither the administration nor Congress with a clear upper hand in an continuing interbranch dispute.

The ruling is a major win for Democrats who have fought the Justice Department for nearly a year, but it’s unclear what the House will actually do with the material. Lawyers for the Democrats have said the grand jury material could potentially be used for additional articles of impeachment, though the Senate impeachment trial over the president’s interactions with Ukraine ended weeks ago in an acquittal.

The case is one of several disputes between the Trump administration and Congress that courts have grappled with in recent months.

Story continues below advertisement

The two sides had been similarly at odds on the question of whether Mr. McGahn could be forced to testify about Mr. Trump’s behaviour during the Russia investigation. The appeals court ruled in a recent 2-1 decision that judges had no role to play in that dispute and dismissed the case.

Mr. Mueller issued a 448-page report last April that detailed multiple interactions between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia and that examined several episodes involving the president for potential obstruction of justice. Mr. Mueller said his team did not find sufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin to tip the election, though pointedly noted that he could not exonerate the president for obstruction.

Portions of the report were blacked out, including grand jury testimony and material that Mr. Mueller said could harm continuing investigations or infringe on the privacy of third parties.

Grand jury testimony is typically treated as secret, in part to protect the privacy of people who are not charged or are considered peripheral to a criminal investigation. But several exceptions allow for the material to be turned over, including if it is in connection with a judicial proceeding.

The House argued that the impeachment inquiry met that definition, and it sought copies of testimony referenced in Mr. Mueller’s report. Chief U.S. District Justice Beryl Howell sided with the House last October in ordering that the material be turned over.

The Justice Department appealed that decision, with lawyers arguing that the material sought by the House had no relevance to the impeachment inquiry and that the House already had ample information about the investigation.

Story continues below advertisement

Several dozen witnesses appeared before Mr. Mueller’s grand jury, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies