A district court judge on Friday granted the House Judiciary Committee's request to obtain secret grand jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled the Department of Justice must turn over these materials by October 30.
House Democrats have been petitioning the court to allow them to review the materials, which was the basis for Mueller's writing of his report. The Justice Department has strongly opposed this move and argued against it in court. The Justice Department is reviewing the decision.
The judge ordered the Justice Department disclose to the House Judiciary Committee all redacted portions of the Mueller report, as well as "any underlying transcripts or exhibits referenced in the portions of the Mueller Report that were redacted." Howell also said the committee "may submit further requests articulating particularized need for disclosure of additional grand jury material."
In her opinion, Howell said that because the House has announced "an official impeachment inquiry," the House Judiciary Committee is exercising its role in "reviewing the evidence set out in the Mueller report." As Howell considers the impeachment inquiry a judiciary proceeding, she ruled that the grand jury material should be turned over.
"The need for continued secrecy is minimal and thus easily outweighed by [the House Judiciary Committee's] compelling need for the material," she added.
In a statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler praised the court's "thoughtful ruling."
"I am gratified that the federal district court has ordered that the Special Counsel's grand jury information must be turned over to the House's impeachment inquiry. The court's thoughtful ruling recognizes that our impeachment inquiry fully comports with the Constitution and thoroughly rejects the spurious White House claims to the contrary," Nadler said.
The House did not open an impeachment inquiry in response to the Mueller report, but instead due to concerns about a potential quid pro quo arrangement between President Trump and the Ukrainian president. Mueller testified before the House in July.
Grace Segers and Clare Hymes contributed to this report