Former special counsel Robert Mueller completed his investigation into links between the 2016 Donald Trump campaign and Russia in March. But according to a report by the legal site Law & Crime, thousands of still-secret documents from the grand jury investigation conducted by Mueller could lead to a second impeachment for the president.
The Mueller information could lead to new articles of impeachment against Trump, even if the two now under consideration are approved by the House of Representatives this week, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee told the United States Appeals Court in Washington, D.C., in a Monday filing. The court document is available online via the document-storage site Scribd.
Asking the appellate court to release the Mueller grand jury materials, Judiciary Committee Democrats pledged in the 66-page brief that the investigation of Trump will continue no matter what happens with the current proceedings against the president. The current impeachment focuses narrowly on what Democrats allege are "multiple federal crimes" committed by Trump when he tried to pressure the government of Ukraine into a "favor" that would help with his 2020 re-election campaign.
But as Law & Crime pointed out, "it's not entirely clear what Mueller may have uncovered that is particularly relevant to the Ukraine affair."
In an earlier filing two months ago, the Judiciary Committee Democrats told the court that the impeachment inquiry was not solely focused on Trump's dealings with Ukraine, according to a Politico report.
A U.S. District Court judge, Beryl Howell, earlier ruled that the Department of Justice must turn over the Mueller grand jury documents, rejecting Attorney General William Barr's contention that the DOJ would be "irreparably harmed" if the literature was made public.
Howell wrote that the Judiciary Committee "must have access to all essential pieces of testimony by witnesses, including testimony given under oath to the grand jury," in order to be sure that it was not being "misled" by the Trump administration. But the DOJ appealed the judge's ruling, resulting in Monday's filing.
Federal law allows confidential grand jury materials to be released if they are required for a "judicial proceeding," but Barr has claimed that the impeachment inquiry does not meet the definition of the term. Howell slapped down that argument as well, Law & Crime reported.
In Monday's filing, House General Counsel Douglas N. Letter suggested that the Mueller documents could lead to new obstruction charges against Trump. One of the two articles of impeachment accuses the president of obstructing Congress in its investigation.
Mueller's report, and his later congressional testimony, documented numerous perceived instances of obstruction of justice by Trump. However, the former special counsel concluded that Justice Department policy prevented the criminal indictment of a sitting president. Instead, Mueller left the matter in the hands of Congress, which holds the impeachment power.