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US Supreme Court blocks disclosure of Russia report material

May 21, 2020

The US Supreme Court has temporarily prevented the House of Representatives from obtaining secret grand jury testimony from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation report.

US Supreme Court blocks disclosure of Russia report material
Image: picture-alliance/S. Loeb

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily prevented the Democratic-led House of Representatives from obtaining secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. 

In a brief order, the justices put on hold a March ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the material must be disclosed to lawmakers.

The order gave the administration until June 1 to formally appeal the March ruling, meaning that if the justices decide to hear the case a final resolution may not be reached until after the November 3 election in which President Donald Trump is seeking a second four-year term. If the justices refuse to hear the appeal, the materials would need to be handed over.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi objected to the high court's decision in a statement Wednesday evening. "The House's long-standing right to obtain grand jury information pursuant to the House's impeachment power has now been upheld by the lower courts twice,'' Pelosi said. "These rulings are supported by decades of precedent and should be permitted to proceed.''

Potentially damaging information

Mueller submitted his report to US Attorney General William Barr in March 2019 after a 22-month investigation that detailed Russian hacking and propaganda efforts to boost Trump's candidacy as well as multiple contacts between Trump's campaign and Moscow.

Barr, a Trump appointee who Democrats have accused of trying to protect the president politically, released the 448-page report in April 2019 with some parts redacted. Some Democrats have expressed concern that Barr used the redaction process to keep potentially damaging information about Trump secret.

The federal appeals court in Washington ruled in March that the documents should be turned over because the House Judiciary Committee's need for the material in its investigation of Trump outweighed the Justice Department's interests in keeping the testimony secret.

see/sri (Reuters/AP)

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